Kat Copeland article
On August the 4th 2012 it is fair to say that Kat Copeland’s life changed for ever. Not only did she win a gold medal along with her partner Sophie Hosking in her first ever Olympics,. With that wide eyed hug and her statement of “We’re going to be on a stamp”, she cemented her place in the hearts of the British public.
Kat was in a café in London with friends having been to a talk at Oxford Academy when she called me on my mobile to start the interview.
How has your life changed since winning the gold medal?
“It’s very busy; I’ve been doing a lot of interviews and stuff. I haven’t really had time to relax but I don’t know what I’ve been doing. It doesn’t really feel like it’s sunk in because I’ve been talking about it in interviews but I haven’t really had time to internalize it”.
After you finished 1st in the trials on the 11th of March (senior squad single Sculls) did you start to think that you could win a medal?
“No I didn’t even dare let myself think that I could get in the boat. I’d done well in the singles but we still had to do crew boat testing at Cavesham which is our main centre, where we race in doubles and different combinations so if I had been beaten in that I still might not have got in the boat. Me and Sophie had been strong in singles but we hadn’t really raced before. We had a meeting when we went on our first training camp, because we just went straight into training. Some boats have been together for three or four years, we got only got together in March. We had a meeting and we said what we wanted to do and we both said we wanted to win and I really believed we could. I maybe doubted it a bit in the World cup when we came 4th and 5th and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working, and then we started doing lots of training on campus and talked to the psychologist a lot. Then we went straight on to the games”.
At the Great North Run was it more of an inspiration to you meeting fellow athletes like Ellie Simmonds, Nicola Adams and Mo Farah or the thousands of runners?
“I think meeting Ellie Simmonds was a highlight for me because she is the nicest, nicest girl, and you would not believe that she is only 17, she is so mature. She just seems so much older than her years and I thought she was really inspirational because of how she deals with all the attention. I thought the runners were amazing Like, there was the guy running with a fridge on his back; [JE: Yeah, Tony the fridge] Yeah he’d done it like 30 times hadn’t he like he ran it every day I don’t know how he does that. They are inspirational because they do it for very selfless reasons, they do it for charity. I think its inspirational watching people win the Olympics but it’s very selfish we don’t it for a charity we do it because we want to win”.
It’s been under a lot of media spotlight that 19 out 47 membersof the GB rowing squad are from private schools. Do you think there is any way that the sport can become more accessible?
“To be honest I would have thought that the numbers would have been more than that. I am not going to lie, in the past it used it to be a sport completely for those from private schools and the rich. Things like World Class Start. What they basically do is set out what the ideal Olympian would be so, tall, strong, a certain body shape a certain body type. They go into state schools, athletics clubs and other sports clubs and I think that things like that make it much more accessible. You don’t really hear about rowing a lot, I didn’t really hear about it, it’s not really on television a lot so you might not know about unless you do it at school. Money isn’t necessarily an issue, if you’re good enough you will get all the help you need. Loads of people at my rowing are just normal Stockton people, they’re not loaded”.
Do you think that the people of Teesside will see any positive legacy from the Olympics despite the fact they were held in London?
“I’ve tried really hard to go into schools and to make it clear that people know that I’m from Teesside. I don’t know about other sports but for rowing people think that you have to go down south to do rowing; I thought that so I moved down south for a year. Then I realized that we have some of the best coaching in the country and one of the nicest rivers as well.”
Do you think that the Paralympics will improve the lives of disabled people in the UK?
"I hope that it will, maybe I have a bit of a biased view because I’m very involved in sport maybe I’m in a bit of a bubble. One the things I’ve noticed and it’s hard to say because I don’t know if it’s because I was involved in the Olympics and Paralympics, butI think that this Paralympics there has been so much more interest in it, it’s been taken more seriously and given much more attention and its basically been the equivalent if not talked about more than the actual Olympics. You’ve got people like Ellie, Oscar Pistorious, Jonny Peacock, who can be a real inspiration to disabled children; it creates a big knock on effect.”
Why do you think that Team GB did so well in both the Olympics and the Paralympics?
"The year before I read an article which said, now I don’t know the specific figures but any host nation gets an increase in funding in the run-up to the Olympics. It’s the little advantage of being able to do one more training session. I think the home advantage was a big help, having the majority of the crowd cheering for you is amazing. It’s not pressure, at all they’re not going to shoot you or mob you if you do badly.”
What do you think that the Olympics have done for women’s sport?
“Every Olympics, there’s more and more girl role models. I would say the girls got more attention than the boys. You’ve got people like Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott, all of these girls and I think they’re all brilliant role models because they handle themselves so well. I think because it’s from a range of sports, like Nicola Adams in the boxing and then people in the show jumping, people from lots of different sports and different body sizes’ there’s something for everyone to look up to. I really hope that the legacy is a general rise in participation and I think that people realize what can be achieved, not just athletes the coaches, the teachers and all those people as well”.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
“I am the most indecisive person in the world I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a week never mind five years. But I’m playing with the idea of going to Rio”