Molesey's Foad: Home support was key to Olympic bronze

Wimbledon Guardian: Surgery required: Hampton's James Foad shows off his medal to children at his David Lloyd Hampton Surgery required: Hampton's James Foad shows off his medal to children at his David Lloyd Hampton

Molesey Boat Club James Foad may have only just come to terms with winning an Olympic bronze medal, but he has already set his sights on gold in Brazil.
 

The 24-year-old was part of the Team GB men’s eight crew – alongside clubmates Greg Searle and Surbiton’s Moe Sbihi – that finished third in the London 2012 final in August.
 

Foad and the crew secured a podium finish by just three tenths of a second ahead of the USA, having committed everything to challenge eventual Olympic champions Germany for top spot.
 

So distraught at failing to win, Foad only brought himself to watch a video of the race a fortnight ago and – injury permitting – he
admitted home advantage had probably made the crucial difference.
 

“It is nice to have a bronze medal now, but at the time we were all pretty disappointed,” he said.
 

“I only watched the video of the race recently because I couldn’t bring myself to do it until now.
 

"It was so close. You don’t realise that when you are racing because you are just focused on yourself.
 

“We were actually very lucky to walk away with a medal. The crowd got us over the line in the last 500m.  If we hadn’t been on home water I don’t think we’d have got there.”
 

Foad will go under the knife next month in a bid to cure a long-standing back problem that almost wrecked his hopes of competing at the 2012 Olympics.
 

It could mean a whole year on the sidelines but the Southampton-born star is not concerned providing he is back in the groove for Rio 2016.
 

“My back was playing up a little bit prior to the Olympics. I overcame it, but it has come back and an operation to fuse the vertebrae seems to be the only option,” he added.
 

“There is always a risk with these things, because you never know how these things will affect you but I hope to be back rowing in February or March time.
 

“If I was to miss a whole year I’m not too concerned because it is a four-year cycle to the next Games and I feel confident of getting back in the team.”
 

The first target will be next year – if Foad returns in 2013 – in the World Cup regattas and the world championships.
 

“The world champs set the standard of where you need to improve,” he said.
 

“Your place in the boat is not a given. There is always someone after it.”

*Molesey Boat Club host their start of season barbecue at Barge Walk on Sunday (tomorrow) with a host of London Olympians as guests of honour.

Club members expected to attend are Team GB men’s eight bronze medallists James Foad, Greg Searle and Moe Sbihi, men’s pairs bronze medal holder George Nash and men’s fours Olympic champions Andrew Triggs Hodge and Tom James.

Festivities start at noon.

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