by Andrew Murphy
Kingston University graduate Ed McKeever has pledged to bring back gold from this summer’s Olympics, with less than 150 days remaining before the start of the London games.
Canoe sprinter McKeever, who graduated from KU in 2008, finished the 2010 season as world and European champion and, after losing those titles in 2011, is keen to make an impression at this summer’s games.
"In 2011 I finished with a silver medal (at the World Championships)," says McKeever. "This gave me a lot of determination to try and get back on the top of the podium in time for the Olympics later this year.
"The Olympic Games are still 6 months away and I’m training hard at the moment in order to turn up on the start line in the form of my life."
The 200m Canoe Sprint, which McKeever will be competing in, is new for the Olympics in 2012. The decision to include the race was made to make the sport more exciting for spectators, and McKeever believes that the games are a brilliant opportunity to showcase less mainstream sports and really drum up interest if Team GB are successful.
"I think it’s inevitable if athletes are successful then that will inspire others. Think how many people took up cycling after the success of the GB team in Beijing.
"It is likely that team GB could surpass the number of medals won in Beijing, but most of the people in charge of team GB are playing that fact down to not put too much pressure on the athletes."
McKeever, 28, studied Accounting & Finance at KU and, whilst he says it was difficult studying part-time and training, recognises the importance of an education for a sportsman.
"Building a career for when you finish sport is critical. I would not be able to give my all in training if I had doubts in the back of my mind about my future, especially as it is very difficult to make a living in canoeing or in many other Olympic sports, even if you are very successful."
Despite keeping an eye on life after paddling, our Olympic hopeful is already excited for what promises to be an extra special games.
"This is the third time that London has hosted the Olympic Games, that’s more than any other city, but it is likely that the Olympic Games won’t return to the UK in our lifetime. London has a unique and diverse culture, and the area around the Olympic park is amazing."
McKeever’s races take place on August 10 & 11 at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre.