Richard Jefferies. Picture by Robin Crossley.
AFTER the experience of a lifetime, Isle of Wight Olympian Richard Jefferies has already set his sights on the next games in Rio, in 2016.
Canoe sprinter Richard, 25, who only took up the sport four years ago, was chosen for the London games to compete over 200m — his speciality — and the more gruelling 1,000m event.
Results-wise, the Bembridge-based athlete was not happy with his performance, as he was knocked out at the semi-final stage of the 200m, and came seventh in the B final of the 1,000m.
"I was disappointed not to make the final of the 200m, but I didn’t get out of the blocks in the semi-final," he said. "It didn’t really help doing the 1,000m beforehand, as that is physically draining. I tried to pace myself but I think it just took it out of me."
Richard, who had a large army of supporters at Eton Dorney, including his twin brother Paul, who put on display a huge Union Flag with Bembridge emblazoned across it, said the Olympic experience was something he would never forget.
"It was amazing, we went to the opening and closing ceremony, words cannot describe how it felt to be there.
"We stayed at Eton and were in a bit of a bubble, and the crowd noise was incredible. I watched a lot of the rowing which helped me because by the time I raced I was used to the sound.
"My dream four years ago was to get to the Olympics. Now it is to be an Olympic champion. I think I’ve got it in me. I have the support and the resources and I will have a few weeks off, and then get to work.
"I saw the medals won by Ed McKeever and the canoe slalom teams and I just thought 'I want one of those’," he added.
Now the Olympics is over, Richard has been able to sit down and sift through the many messages left by Islanders on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
"The amount of random people I’ve never met, who were wishing me luck, was incredible," he said. "The support from Islanders was just great and I want to thank them all."