Tokyo Olympics: Rower Victoria Thornley grateful for early dates decision

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Victoria Thornley
Victoria Thornley trains at Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake near Reading

Olympic silver medallist Victoria Thornley is grateful for the quick rescheduling dates of the Tokyo Games for next year.

The Tokyo Olympic Games will start on 23 July, 2021 and run to 8 August after being postponed for a year last week because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board made the decision.

"It's really good the IOC have made the decision so quickly," said Thornley.

The 32-year-old from Wrexham is preparing for her third Games after winning silver in the double sculls at Rio 2016 alongside Katherine Grainger.

Thornley became the first Welsh woman to win an Olympic rowing medal and hopes to add another in Tokyo.

"I thought it would have taken a few more weeks so it's really nice to have the definite date," said Thornley.

"There's a bit more certainty in our scheduling and planning going forward and we know what we're aiming for now."

Thornley won the single sculls at the British Trials in Caversham earlier this month before the Olympics in Japan was postponed.

"There've been a lot of ups and downs," said Thornley.

"A month ago I probably thought I'm sure they'll sort the Olympics out for this year and then it hit us hard (coronavirus) and it doesn't look like it's slowing down.

"As an athlete you just want to know what you're aiming towards.

Vicky Thornley and Katherine Grainger
Vicky Thornley (L) won silver alongside Katherine Grainger in the double sculls at the last Olympic Games

"The main thing is the Olympics is still happening. A year is a decent amount of time, but it's not forever and now I know what I'm aiming for.

"I am lucky I have all my training set up at home. I use my training as my anchor and it creates a routine to my day.

"There are opportunities in having an extra year.

"There are things I may have done differently this winter and rarely do you have a second chance to do it again. I see it as an opportunity. Now we're doing an extra 25% of that four year cycle, mentally it might be quite taxing.

"Your body will hold up well, but mentally you need to decompress before you start ramping it. You just have to be aware it's an emotional toll."

Thornley is confident she can peak 12 months later than initially anticipated.

"My body's in a good place and I've still got a lot of motivation and plenty of fire in my belly," said Thornley.

"This will be my last games and in the last one I got a silver so I'm not going there just to take part.

"I'm going there to win a medal and I've got a lot of drive to do that. The Olympics is very much in the forefront of my mind every day."

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