Jessica Eddie eyes Olympic redemption

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OLYMPIC-BOUND rower Jessica Eddie admits she cannot escape the prospect of banishing the demons from four years ago.

Durham City’s Eddie is in Germany preparing for the games after earning a spot in the women’s eight crew for London.

It will be the 27-year-old’s second taste of the Olympics after being part of the eight which finished outside of the medals in fifth spot, in 2008’s Beijing games.

But Eddie is determined to earn a place on the podium this time around after the crew took a bronze from last year’s World Championships.

Eddie (pictured) told the Echo: “Finishing fifth in Beijing left a bitter taste in my mouth. We had to change two people in our crew three days before the final due to illness and I walked away from there knowing we’d not shown what we were capable of.

“I’m not here to redeem what happened because we have a new crew, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in the back of my mind.

“Winning the bronze last year at the World Championships really showed that we’re here to be taken seriously and it gave us great belief that we can mix it up at the top. We’ve now got three weeks to make the difference.

“It’s funny that it’s now just around the corner, with 2012 almost becoming this mythical thing we’ve spoken about for the past seven years.

“I feel we’re ready and we’re supported so well from our brilliant support staff – physios, weights coaches, nutritionists, psychologists and sponsors.”

Eddie will spend the next two weeks at Britain’s training camp in Germany, along with the rest of the women’s rowing team, while the men prepare at a separate base in Austria.

And the former St Leonard’s Comprehensive School pupil admits the training regime is reaching its peak, with the Olympic rowing events beginning on Saturday, July 28.

“We come away like this to maximise training and recovery. We pretty much eat, row and sleep, even though the sun is shining outside we spend any spare time indoors resting,” added Eddie, who began rowing aged eight and trained at both Durham and Sunderland Rowing Clubs.

“We’re doing an awful lot of training right now, almost the last push or real block of hard stuff before we race. We’ll come off that a bit before the games, but you don’t get much of a break in a sport like rowing.

“The mood in camp is really good. We all know each other so well by this stage, some of us having gone to the last Olympics together. It’s kind of like hanging out with your friends, who you happen to be competing at the Olympics with.”

Meanwhile, Eddie’s fellow former St Leonard’s pupil, Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell, agonisingly missed out on a spot at the games.

The Durham-born rower was hoping to seal a place as one of the reserves for the men’s team, but the two spots have gone to Marcus Bateman and Cameron Nichol.