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Sophie Hosking interview

5 October 2012

Sophie on her future plans and the Minithon

The official website caught up with Sophie Hosking at Sunday’s Minithon event and the Olympic gold medal winner offered us an interesting update on her future plans.

Former Wimbledon FC Ladies player Sophie admitted she currently faces a tough choice about whether to continue as a rower after her headline-grabbing exploits at London 2012. Sophie’s return to our club for the Dagenham & Redbridge match received an overwhelming response and the 26-year-old said she will always treasure the moment when she paraded the gold medal in front of our supporters.

Considering her lack of running experience, Sophie came a respectable fourth in Sunday’s Minithon. The event, perhaps unsurprisingly, was won by our fitness coach Jason Moriarty, who won a bottle of Champagne for his efforts. Michael Shepherd was second, closely followed by the author of this article in third place, and Elliott Bolton was the winning child. However, the emphasis was on fun with 61 people completing the 5km course at Morden Park, including Haydon the Womble, Erik Samuelson and Mike Rayner. Funds for charity are currently still being calculated, but Born Too Soon (Kingston Hospital Neonatal Unit), St Raphael’s Hospice, and the Dons Trust Fund will be the beneficiaries.

Here’s what Sophie had to say about her participation in the event and her future plans:

Can you describe to us Sophie just how hectic it has been for you since your gold medal win?

It has been pretty crazy really. It feels like I have not stopped since I crossed the line. I have been travelling around the country doing various things, including going up to the North-East recently to support one of the other guys in the team at an event. I have been talking to people and doing interviews all about the Olympic Games and the build-up to it. It has all been good fun, but it has made the last two months go really quickly.

Will you be aiming towards another gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio?

I have to make my mind up in terms of if I want to carry on in rowing or do something else. If I was to carry on then the next big event would be the World Cup event in Australia in March. The squad has started back now, but there is a bit more flexibility this year with people who have been in the team for quite a while. There is a lot more individuality now, for example if I want to train at a different centre or with a certain coach. Obviously, it all came to a massive peak with the Olympics and everyone needs to relax a bit more and also do things away from rowing. It will all pick up again in the run-up towards Rio.

Considering your success, why are thinking of giving up rowing?

I am not sure if I will carry on. I do not think it will get any better than winning a gold medal at the London Olympics. In rowing, as in other sports, you need to have a huge amount of motivation. When it gets tough in the middle of the winter and you are training three times a day and when it is pitch black you need that motivation. I would not want to be in rowing if I was not 100 per cent dedicated. There are other things in life and I will need to decide what I am going to do in the next few months. I studied physics and chemistry, but I am not sure that is what I want to do in the future. I am thinking of moving into another career and maybe studying to be a lawyer. I will make my decision before Christmas.

 The club obviously means a lot to you?. It is great to see you supporting AFC Wimbledon once again at today’s Minithon

The support I have received from the club has been fantastic. It was important after the Olympics for me to say thank-you to everyone at the club who has supported me and all those people who did so much for me during the last few years of my rowing career. I have loved being involved with the club in any way that I can. Erik Samuelson asked me when I was at the match if I would do it and I am more than happy to be involved in the Minithon.

Parading your gold medal before the Dagenham match must have been special for you then?

When you get the gold medal out there is often a bit of a reaction! I was really happy to do that for the supporters. A lot of them were nice about asking me for photographs with the gold medal and to have pictures taken with me. I enjoyed the day and it is something that I will remember in years to come.

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