Kat Copeland: Break helped fuel Rio 2016 Olympics ambitions

Kat Copeland

Media playback is not supported on this device

Copeland happy out of the spotlight

Olympic lightweight double sculls champion Kat Copeland has said a break from competition helped to keep her focused on the Rio Games in 2016.

Copeland, 23, took the sabbatical after winning gold at London 2012 with now retired team-mate Sophie Hosking.

She returned in April this year with Imogen Walsh, winning Europeans bronze and a second World Cup gold in June.

"Having a break has helped me to appreciate how lucky I am to row," Copeland told BBC Look North.

"I have room in the next couple of years to physiologically get stronger and fitter, but I am in the strongest mental place I could have been.

"I'm in a really good position going forward now.

"It's a privilege, a really nice life and I love the sport and what I do. Realising that is a powerful thing if you love what you're doing."

Her success at Eton Dorney with Hosking made the Teessider a major star after the Olympics, with the award of an MBE in 2013.

It also brought her into the media focus - a completely new experience.

"I thought I would really like the attention but I didn't. I liked everyone's enthusiasm but I just like rowing," added Copeland.

"I found it very different to just being out on the river with my friends. I just like being at Tees and going out in my boat - there was a lot of stuff going on after the Olympics and I wanted to get back to my little bubble.

"However, a couple of months in I just realised I needed a bit of time to reflect on what happened, to think about the London success and be really pleased about it so that I could come back in with a fresh head and looking towards Rio.

"Everything will have moved on by 2016."