Debbie Flood rows in the women's quadruple scull. Debbie won silver at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. At the 2010 World Rowing Championships in New Zealand's Lake Karapiro, Debbie and her crewmates came from behind to beat the reigning champions, the Ukraine, and win gold in 7:12.78.
Dan Ritchie is a member of the men's eight that won silver at the 2010 World Rowing Championships. Dan also raced in the men's eight in the 2010 World Cup series, winning a gold medal in Bled, a bronze in Munich and taking another bronze in Lucerne.
Was this your first visit to the Olympic Park? What did you think of the progress being made?
Debbie: Yes, this was my first visit to the Park and it is looking fantastic. Work on the venues seems well underway. I visited the Olympic Parks in Athens and Beijing while they were under construction, so it was interesting to see the differences. The Park here is very compact.
Dan: I was surprised how big the Village was – it's a huge complex. But the fact that it’s so close to the Stadium is great for the athletes – we'll be close to all the action and able to soak up the atmosphere.
Did it make you more excited about London 2012?
Debbie: Definitely – it's a great motivation during these long, winter months of training. It's really important to have something to aim for.
Dan: It's both exciting and daunting. This'll be my first Olympics and
they are only 18-19 months away now. But we are totally focused on the
task in hand. That's the beauty of Jurgen's programme (Jurgen Grobler,
Men's Chief Coach) – it's based on a four-year cycle and is centred on
Have you visited Eton Dorney, the London 2012 Rowing venue?
Debbie: Yes, we used to train there quite a lot, and the 2006 World Championships were held there. It's a fantastic venue. It's great that there'll be open space for spectators to walk alongside the races, as well as stands.
Where are you at now in terms of training?
Debbie: It's pretty intense. We're training 2-3 times a day, with each session lasting about 100 minutes. But it's all about the Olympics – we'd give up all our World Championship medals for one Olympic gold.
Dan: It's hard work, but the Olympics is the pinnacle of all our training – that's what we're aiming for. For seven out of the eight guys on the crew, it'll be their first Olympics. That makes it all the more special.
Are you looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd and your family and friends in 2012?
Dan: I'm hopeful and optimistic – and a bit scared! There's a lot of pressure on us, but you don't really think about that when you're on the starting line. I'm just really looking forward to hearing the cheers of the crowd in the final stretch.
Debbie: I'm really excited about it. It's great that my family and friends will be able to watch me row – we travel and compete abroad a lot, so it's not always possible. And to win a gold medal in front of a home crowd would be a dream come true. Come 2012, I think the support we'll get from the public will far outweigh the pressure and expectation.