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Henry Fieldman gets ‘dream come true’ in coxing Team GB eight at the Tokyo Olympics

Henry Fieldman will cox the Team GB men's eight. Picture: Naomi Baker
Henry Fieldman will cox the Team GB men's eight. Picture: Naomi Baker

Henry Fieldman will complete a long-held dream after being chosen for the Team GB rowing squad to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 32-year-old will cox the men’s eight, which features Mohamed Sbihi, Josh Bugajski, Jacob Dawson, Tom George, Charlie Elwes, Oli Wynne-Griffith, James Rudkin and Tom Ford, having steered the boat throughout the Olympiad.

“It’s a dream come true, as cheesy as that sounds,” said Fieldman, who coxed Cambridge University in the 2013 Boat Race and has been the Light Blues’ coxing consultant since 2015.

“It’s been my goal and dream to be in the Olympic team for a long, long time. For it to be announced, I can’t believe it.

“It was certainly a hit to have the Olympics postponed. We actually were announced in the team last year, then Covid hit and then within a few weeks the Games were postponed.

“It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but I think I always felt we were still quite privileged as athletes to be in the position we were versus others.

“The Games were delayed but we were never at risk or at threat like a lot of the country has been battling with. I still felt privileged, if that makes sense.”

Quite a few people across the Olympic sports opted to retire rather than to continue for another year to pursue their Games’ ambitions.

But that was not an option for Fieldman.

“Myself and our crew, our purpose was pretty clear,” he says. “We wanted to go as fast as we possibly can at the Olympics Games, whether that was tomorrow, or in a year or whenever, the purpose was the same.

“It was slightly upsetting to have it delayed but it didn’t change the purpose, it was an opportunity to maximise with more time.”

That has certainly shown with the eight’s racing so far in 2021.

At the European Rowing Championships in Italy in April, they clinched the gold medal and followed that with a nail-biting win over Germany the second Rowing World Cup of the season in Lucerne last month.

They will be seeking to continue that momentum on a series of training camps before departing for Japan.

“We’re really excited,” says Fieldman. “We go to Italy for a block of time to get a bit of warm weather and good water, then off to our classic high-altitude camp in Silvretta in the Austrian Alps and that will be good for us.

“It is one of those Rocky-montage camps, so it’s always good to get that in the legs. We come back to the UK for a short bit, and then off to Japan so we’re really excited.

“It’s a big challenge ahead to try to capitalise on the momentum we’ve got, but we’re really excited to try to do that.”

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