Grainger ‘more than likely’ to make Rio

Katherine Grainger and Victoria Thornley

Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley finished fourth at the European Championships

Katherine Grainger is still “more than likely” to compete at her fifth Olympic Games in Rio this summer, says British rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave.

The London 2012 gold medallist’s place in the British team was cast into doubt when her double scull partnership with Vicky Thornley was disbanded.

Redgrave believes 40-year-old Grainger and Thornley, 28, will be accommodated in one of the British boats.

“I still expect both to be in Rio,” he told BBC Sport.

“Their training times have been good and they are among the top scullers in the women’s squad.”

The partnership was ended after Grainger and Thornley finished fourth at the European Championships.

Grainger won Olympic gold in London with Anna Watkins after three consecutive silvers, and the Scot was paired with Thornley when she returned following a two-year sabbatical in the aftermath of the 2012 Games.

The duo won European bronze in 2015 and finished sixth at the World Championships last September to qualify the boat for Rio, but it became apparent they were unlikely to contend for gold there.

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“I suspect the girls realised that and were keen to make a change,” said Redgrave. “Neither of them would want to go to the Olympics unless they were a bolted-on medal hope.”

Grainger and Thornley will be given the chance to earn a place in the eight, despite the crew earning European gold in Brandenburg earlier this month.

With several top nations in that event coming from the rest of the world, strengthening that boat makes sense to Redgrave – even if the experiment ends with Grainger, Thornley or even both remaining in the double for Rio.

“There is no guarantee that Katherine and Vicky will make the eight quicker,” he said.

“But if they do, it would be crazy to take two boats – the eight and the double – that might finish outside the medals, when you could strengthen one of them by making a change.”

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