Had Wimbledon’s Sophie Hosking stuck with her first love she may have been coming to terms with Olympic heartache this week.
Instead the 26-year-old former Kingston Grammar School student is basking in the glory of winning women’s lightweight double sculls gold at Eton Dorney last Saturday.
Former AFC Wimbledon Ladies footballer Hosking gave up football to concentrate on her blossoming rowing career and has not looked back having won medals at a host of World Cup and World
Her Olympic gold meant British athletes – including Molesey Boat Club’s Andrew Triggs Hodge and Tom James, and Twickenham’s Mo Farah – collected six golds in one Super Saturday.
By contrast, Team GB’s women’s footballers crashed out of the Games with a 2-0 quarter-final defeat to Canada less than 24 hours earlier.
Now Hosking is soaking up the high life as the country’s sportsmen and women enjoy their most successful Olympics in more than a century, safe in the knowledge she made the right choice after
“It’s still a bit unreal, but it has been a massive rush since we crossed the line. I keep having to remind myself what we have done. It will sink in over the next couple of weeks,” she said as she
prepared to return home to normal life after her heroics in Windsor.
“When the Olympics is all over I will head back home and spend time with my family. It has been a lot of hard work so it will be nice to have time to chill out.
“Football is my first love, but once I started with the rowing, it takes up a lot of time, so I had to leave the football behind.
“I’m still a massive fan of AFC Wimbledon and I go down as much as possible and they have given me a lot of support.
“Obviously I have lived in Wimbledon on and off all my life, seeing everyone get behind me was amazing, I’m a bit over awed by it all.
“I can’t wait to get back home to Wimbledon and I want to thank everyone for their support
“It meant a huge amount. I’m really proud to be from London and be part of it all.”
Durham University graduate Hosking, a member of Putney-based London Rowing Club, made her senior GB rowing debut in 2006 having impressed at U23 level.
She won World Cup silver with partner Kat Copeland in the stroke seat in the first regatta of the summer, but the 21-year-old Teesider's switch to the bow ahead of the Olympics turned that to gold
at the highest level.
But Hosking insisted the move was no surprise to her.
“We have been working on this project for over four years now, I have been in the double since 2009 and the same coach since 2007. This was always our aim,” she said.
“We swapped the line-up, but we still had all that experience to draw from and we were very focused on what we needed to do each session to put ourselves in the best position for the Olympics.”