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"I owe my Gold to the Royal Navy"

Peter Reed
Gold Medal
Lt Peter Reed gets back into a spot of training after being part of the successful coxless four GB rowing team which took gold in the Beijing Olympics

As Lieutenant Pete Reed crossed the finish line at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an immense sense of relief and extreme joy came over him as he realised that he and his team mates had just secured the Gold Medal for Britain in the Men's Four Rowing Final.

Here, the 'Commander' speaks exclusively to Leigh Morrison about his Olympic win, crying fans and why he owes it all to the Royal Navy.

Lt Reed, and team mates Tom James, Andy Triggs-Hodge and Steve Williams beat Australia in a thrilling final to win by just over a second in Beijing. The victory was the culmination of several years hard work, dedication and sacrifice by all of those on the team.

According to Lt Reed the realisation that you have become an Olympic champion is an incredible feeling:

"During the last quarter of the race there was only a very small amount of doubt in my mind that we wouldn't win," he explained. "We would never settle for silver, so we gave it our all. We heard that we were moving ahead of the Aussies but for the last three quarters of the race it was so concentrated that I can't even remember it as I had my blinkers on.

"To cross the finish line and realise that we won the Gold medal for Great Britain is just breathtaking. It's immensely emotional and physically relieving. It took quite a while to realise that we'd won!

"From the year building up to the Olympics, you become obsessed with it. You think about it every day and even dream about winning and have nightmares about losing. The next thing I know, I'm waking up to a Gold medal on my bedside table.

"It's nice to not wake up every day to a mixture of fear and excitement. I can now go through my day without concentrating on hydration, what food to eat and how much I should rest. It has become more about seeing my girlfriend and my family."

Lt Reed is also immensely proud that he is part of the euphoria the nation is feeling for the Great British Olympic team:

"I have been back in the UK for one day and already made three people cry! I have complete strangers congratulating me in random places and three of them have become so emotional with pride that they've cried.

"Having this reception is completely alien to me. I find it staggering to realise the nation has been gripped by Team GB's success. I'm very proud to have been a part of that. We also hope that as a lot of kids watched the games that they will be more likely to become involved in a sport."

The Navy have been absolutely vital in supporting Lt Reed's Olympic bid:

"I've had so much support from the Navy. I was in full time training for three years and the Navy was behind me all the way. I've had letters from senior officers as well as sailors who have been wishing me all the best.

"The biggest honour was receiving a personal letter from the First Sea Lord Sir Admiral Jonathan Band. That was very touching.

"When I joined the Navy I didn't have much motivation, but that all changed when I began service. I did a lot of growing up when I joined up. If it hadn't been for the education and training that I got from the Navy, I wouldn't have been successful as a rower. Being part of the military allowed me time to hone my skills."

And what about the future:

"I know I can be a better athlete. There is a lot more to come from me and I would love to be a part of the games in 2012."

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