Hedvig Rasmussen on Rio, racing the pair and becoming one of the world’s best

Hedvig, thanks for chatting. How are your preparations for Rio going?

Pretty much as planned; the European Championships was our first competition this year and it was a step in the right direction, as it gave us a good indication of where we stand in comparison to our opponents at this time during the season.

How did you first become involved with rowing, and what persuaded you to race at an international level?

I started rowing in 2010. My older brother was a part of the Talent 2016 project in Denmark and I went to see him row a couple of times. The girls’ coach asked if I felt like taking up rowing because he thought I had the right size for rowing. First, I declined because I didn’t liked my hands full of blisters. But he was quite persistent and kept asking and in the end I was persuaded to give it a go. My older brother was part of the project to develop new potential rowers who could compete at Rio 2016, but that wasn´t my target at first. Initially, it was just a question for me about getting some exercise and checking out rowing. But slowly I progressed and as things developed to my satisfaction, my desire and motivation for higher goals increased.”

You’ve won a silver medal at U23 level – how well did that prepare you for the senior team?

It has given me confidence and motivation to keep working towards my goals. By working hard I was convinced that I could become a good rower. So the medal I won strengthened my belief that I would have the chance to make it.

You’ve raced in sculling and sweep boats – which do you prefer, and why?

I always prefer the fastest kind and since I have achieved the greatest results in sweeping that must be my answer.

Your best season to date was 2015, when you (and Anne) won world cup bronze and finished fourth in a strong pair final at the World Championship in France. How did it feel to be lining up alongside the world’s best?

It has been great fun to suddenly be amongst the very best, but it’s also terrifying to line up next to someone who is the absolute elite and has won a lot of medals. Thus, when we are racing I have to tell myself ‘this is a new race, a new opportunity and we all start at the same. GO.

Is Rio a stepping stone for you, or are you targeting a medal?

Anne and I never enter a competition without the aim of performing our best and get a good result. We of course want to do well in Rio, but I am also aware that it is my first Olympics and that I still have a lot to learn.

What is your favourite training location, and why?

I don´t really care where it is as long as the water is flat!

What is your favourite training session, and why?

I prefer long distance programs in lower rates. I like the feeling of getting into a great flow which I feel I could do for hours and hours.

What is it that you are particularly looking forward to when going to Rio?

To get a great experience and some great races, and hopefully I will be able to look back saying that I was satisfied with my our achievements. To experience the Olympic atmosphere and to row practically in the middle of the city is thrilling. I think it’s going to be awesome to experience a city in Olympic mode with all the sports gathered at the same place.

Photo credit Igor Meijer

Svend Bertil Frandsen

Svend Bertil Frandsen is 46 years old and has been working within the world of sports since 1999. For the greater part of his career, football was his preoccupation. He has worked for UEFA, FIFA and ESPN Soccernet, mainly as an editor, but also as media officer. Rowing has , however, been a key interest for him throughout his life and in 2014 he was handed the role as Head of Press for the Danish national rowing team, a position he still occupies.

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