On the back of a great Olympics here in London, we’ve been paying homage to the athletes who blew the public away. Every guy is always envious of the British rowing team, and today at MFM we’re giving you an exclusive interview with Olympic gold medallist Pete Reed.
How does it feel to be a double Olympic gold medallist?
To be honest, it is a huge relief. I never let myself think of the medal and success before the 4th August 2012; I only thought about what I could do better. Now it is a reality I can just sit in peace with a very deep satisfaction. That is until the first training session for Rio 2016 starts. Off we go again.
Does it feel like you’ve been thrown almost into a new spotlight since the success of the Olympics?
Well, Twitter exploded for about 24 hours after the race! I’ll say this, it has been great to dress up a bit and get out of a rowing lycra for five minutes. Thanks to everyone for the fantastic invitations. I have loved the whole experience.
Competing at such a high level and training day in, day out at such an intense level must be a strain on the human body. How do you prevent injuries and what factors of your diet help you to keep up such a level of fitness?
The key dietary requirement above all else is carbohydrate. If you run out of fuel, you start to shake and then you slow down to a pathetic and weak stop. We eat a healthy balanced diet in triple quantities… 6000-7000 calories per day depending on training. That covers fuel. Servicing and MOTs… I have a great doctor and physiotherapist and they always want me to stretch more. Don’t forget to stretch.
The expectation of the GB team in the rowing was so high therefore there was a huge amount of coverage on TV. Did this interrupt the training a lot due to the need to schedule advertising and interviews?
We had a very well organised media team supporting us. There was a lot of external interest, but it was packed into frantic half days where the training plan allowed. That stopped us from compromising our training in any way.
Was there more pressure to perform due to all this coverage?
There is always pressure from expectation, but I love pressure. It makes me hungry and helps me to perform. Also, rowing is a small sport for 3 years before it takes the Olympic spotlight. We need as much coverage as we can get in Olympic year to remind people that we are out there everyday, all day for the rest of the 4 year cycle.
Talk us through your daily fitness routine?
Two, three or four sessions per day, seven days per week. I honestly think it is the toughest and most time consuming sport to train for. I can’t be more specific because my coach wouldn’t want me to give away the specifics of training. Think, pain!
Do you find with competing at such a high level mixed with your talent as a photographer that perfection is something you strive for in everything you do?
I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist, but that is only because I have never given it any thought. Perhaps I am. I always think about what I need to do better, whether it’s rowing, photography, music or in my relationship.
How does this affect your confidence?
I am 100% confident when I have prepared to the highest level. When I sit on the start line knowing I have done everything possible, I KNOW we will win. It’s when preparation hasn’t gone so well that finding that confidence becomes more of a challenge.
How do you bend this obsession to benefit you rather than eat away at you?
Simple, I work hard everyday. Not just on the day.
How did you begin your photography work?
I am artistic and have a healthy love of gadgets… photography was obvious right? Well it took me long enough to find my passion for it. I bought my first SLR in 2006 and since then I’ve expanded into a room filling obsession. Hopefully, but the end of my rowing career, the wider rowing family will be able to enjoy some fantastic shots from behind the scenes of Olympic preparations.
What is it you look for in a brand that you buy into?
I just love the look and the subtle branding that doesn’t shout at everyone you walk past. I want to be comfortable and looking good without having to replace things every year due to fashion or poor craftsmanship. It’s brands like Burberry and Gieves & Hawkes that are timelessly stylish, British and made for life. I couldn’t do without my trench coat.
You mentioned in an interview with Vogue that your favourite labels include the British heritage brand Burberry? What is it about this brand? Is there any key piece by them that you own?
Timeless and effortless style, quality materials, work and detail, with a smart and classical look.
What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe?
My Royal Naval uniform.
How would you describe your style in one word?
You’d think one nice thing about training, as an athlete is you the last thing you have to worry about is your appearance! It should be almost, throw on scruffs and go to work. But with all eyes on Olympics was there pressure to look more presentable during training. And what about after?
I always try to present myself very well. After all, I’m a naval officer and British Olympian. It wasn’t hard at the Olympics with Adidas and Stella doing such a good job with the kit. Since then, it’s been a lot easier to look fresh for events having had a few new friends watching out for my look. Well, there must be one or two perks right?
Also with sponsors making the most of every available advertising space how much of your clothing was dictated as opposed to choice?
I chose all of it, luckily I had a little bit of help with the supply. I have never been anywhere and not felt totally comfortable in what I was wearing – that’s the trick I think champs. Do you feel comfortable? Yes? Then you will look comfortable.
Last question – What’s your biggest fashion mistake?
I went to the Pride of Britain awards having JUST picked up a tailored suit… I was on the red carpet when my fiancee noticed that I still had the white cotton crosses holding the tails together. Oops.
A huge thank you to Pete for taking the time out for the interview. If you want to find out more about Pete, you can either check out his website: http://www.petereed.com/ or follow him on Twitter @PeteReed