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.