OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Winckless delight for best mate Grainger
SARAH Winckless believes the home crowd made a big difference as best friend Katherine Grainger finally ended her 12-year wait for an Olympic gold.
SUCCESS: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins celebrate their double sculls gold at the London 2012 Olympics
Grainger, a three-time silver medallist, joined forces with Anna Watkins to win double scull rowing gold at an emotional Eton Dorney in an Olympic record time.
Winckless, the head of the British athletes' commission, won two world titles with Grainger in the quadruple sculls and believes there is no more deserving gold medallist after her near-misses in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
"The crowd, the early morning, the years of muscle-memory and the passion and drive of these two women have got the deserved result," she said.
"By 30 strokes they were very aware of what was going on around them. By 500 metres they were into a long and strong rhythm, they were more powerful.
"At 1500m they absolutely responded to the crowd and were eking out the distance and getting the margin. It could be one of the biggest margins of the regatta, we won imperiously."
Winckless will now join her friend for a holiday in Macchu Pichu but also paid tribute to her young team-mate Watkins.
"Anna was fantastic. Her physiology was fantastic. It took time for her body to get used to the training and now she's brilliant. She has a strong, calm personality," she said.
"Her contribution can't be underestimated. Katherine has won with many partners over the years but she and Anna are a special combination.
"They have got Olympic gold and the Olympic record to their names and that takes two people."