Olympic gold medallist Sophie Hosking delighted to be recognised with MBE


The double sculls champion is excited about the future.


By Peter Lythe

From gold medal glory on Dorney Lake to last week’s investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, it has been quite a six months for Putney’s Sophie Hosking, MBE.

Named in the New Year Honours alongside her women’s lightweight double sculls rowing partner at London 2012, Katherine Copeland, Hosking was in Australia when her nomination was made.

“My parents opened the letter,” she says. “I was very excited on hearing the news but it really hit home once the announcement was made in the papers and my family and friends got in touch.

“Being awarded an MBE holds particular resonance for me as I remember how special it was when my dad (David Hosking, men’s lightweight eight world champion in 1980) received his. To be recognised in this way means a huge amount.”

Hosking, 27, lives in Putney and had travelled to Australia at the beginning of November, even before the buzz of post-Olympics celebrations, new media commitments and public adulation had abated.

With some prescience, the three-month trip was planned prior to the Games to provide a period of calm in which she could compose herself, reflect upon what had been achieved, and consider what she would like to do in the future.

And for now, that future involves an indefinite period of time away from the water.

“Whether I continue rowing beyond this year will depend on whether I believe I have already put everything in,” she explains. “If I feel I have given all I can, there is no reason to carry on.

“Whatever I do, it is an exciting time and there is a lot to be achieved – in sport or in life in general – and I am very positive about the future.”

Competition is still on the agenda, however, only in different disciplines. As an athlete ambassador for the charity Right To Play, Hosking will be participating in the Trois Etapes pro-am cycling challenge in July.

The former Kingston Grammar School pupil is also currently vying with other prospective solicitors to secure a training contract at a law firm.

Hosking still enjoys meeting friends at the Grind Coffee Bar in Putney and watching AFC Wimbledon on a Saturday afternoon. Normality has been restored to her life, albeit one that has changed – however imperceptibly – forever.

Having lived in south-west London for most of her life, she is keen to acknowledge those from the area who have supported her, particularly London Rowing Club in Putney.

“I owe so much to the club and to my coach, Paul Reedy. They have been fundamental to my development from under-23 rower to Olympic champion.

“London Rowing Club has a proud history and it is great to be part of that in some way,” she adds modestly.

For Hosking, one of the defining aspects of sport – as encountered through her Olympic success – is how the same events or circumstances are experienced differently from one person to the next, particularly between competitors and spectators.

“When people talk to me about that day, it is like they were there,” she says. “It felt like a very private moment out on the water – and then you realise that the rest of the world shared in it.

“What we achieved in a fairly isolated way provoked emotions in millions of people, and that is quite incredible.”

Reflecting further on the achievements of August 4, free from the hype and with the perspective that time affords, Hosking’s appraisal is that of an athlete who worked hard to deliver on her talent.

“Whenever I watch the race, the main thing I notice is the way we rowed, the way we executed our plan. The result itself was brilliant, but it is how we achieved that result which is most satisfying.

“All of those years of training – developing our technique and style – came together. That to me is the greatest source of pride. Excitement will fade with time but, ultimately, we did what we set out to do.”

Such a mindset is sure to serve Hosking well in all that she chooses to do in the next phase of her life.

Image courtesy of ITN News, via YouTube, with thanks.

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