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Rowing Blazers x Tom Ford

No, not that Tom Ford...

Tom Ford (no, not the designer-turned-director) is a new kid on the block in top-level international rowing and a rising star. A 2014 and 2016 Henley Royal Regatta champion and two-time World University champion, Tom has won two World Cup medals for Great Britain this season.  He took a few minutes out of his packed training schedule to have a chat with us.

RB: How did you get into rowing?

TF: My two older brothers rowed at school. I used to go down to the boathouse with them and eventually took it up too. I carried on at Newcastle and it went from there really!

RB: What's your favorite or most memorable race, so far in your career?

TF: My favorite race so far has been my first Henley Royal Regatta win in 2014. I was racing for Newcastle University in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, and we met Harvard in the final. Henley is such a unique and historic event and something I'd always dreamt of winning.

RB: When you found out that you were going to represent Great Britain for the first time, how did that feel?

TF: My first GB vest was in 2013 at the U23 world championships in Linz in Austria. Because I'd never competed for GB as a junior, it felt like a huge step in my rowing career.

RB: What are your future aspirations in the sport?

TF: My ultimate goal is to win the Olympics. But at the moment I'm just taking every season as it comes because I know I have a long way to go.

RB: Who is your hero - sporting or otherwise?

TF: Rowing wise, it's cliché, but it would have to be Steve Redgrave.  I remember watching him on TV when I was a little kid, and those images of him crossing the line in Atlanta and Sydney have stuck with me forever.  I'd also say [England rugby player] Jonny Wilkinson and [British boxer] Anthony Joshua. They're both athletes who reached the top of their game and seem to have dedicated absolutely everything to achieve their goals.  I also love that Joshua is a swole unit, but simultaneously practices chess to hone the tactical part of his brain.

RB: Has anything surprised you about rowing for the Great Britain team?

TF: Getting into the squad was a surprise in itself really.  Although I'd dreamt about it, it was surreal turning up on the first day.  You expect a huge step up in racing intensity too, but it's still a bit of a shock when you're on the start line at your first senior international regatta and the light turns green.

RB: What is your proudest rowing moment?

TF: I've felt incredibly proud and felt really lucky each time I've raced for Great Britain at any level. But I think getting selected for the first time while I was at university was probably the proudest moment for me.

RB: Last one - what is your favorite sporting moment in history?

TF: Witnessing the London Olympics was pretty special.  It electrified the country and brought people together all over Britain in a way I had never seen before.  That was really inspiring, and I think it demonstrates the value of sport.