Olympic medal winner's parents looking forward to the games

Alan Campbell created his own little piece of history when he stepped off the plane at Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympic Gmaes.

Friday, 12th August 2016, 10:43 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:03 pm
Alan Campbell pictured with his parents William and Jennifer at the Bann Rowing Club on the River Bann in Coleraine after arriving home from the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.

The Single Sculler is the first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete at four Olympic Games.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the boy from Coleraine.

All along his amazing journey he has been supported by his parents, William and Jennifer.

They have been cheering him on from the side from his humble beginnings at Bann Rowing Club through to his bronze medal winning exploits in London four years ago.

And they will be in Rio as their son brings the curtain down on his rowing career.

“We make no big demands on Alan,” Jennifer told Times Sport.

“He is a wonderful son and has given us such great memories of great rowing events.

“We know he will do his utmost. He has never given less than his best and we know he will have the performance of a lifetime in Rio.

“Come on Alan Campbell! Row, Row Row your boat!”

The 33-year-old has gone on record in saying that Rio will signal the end of his rowing career as he wants to spend more time with his wife Jules and young daughted Tabitha.

And dad William believes that he really means it.

“At the London Olympics, we, as parents, were sure that Alan would end his rowing career but he has always felt that there is another Olympic Games in him,” he said.

“However, I believe him when he says this will be his last Olympic Games.

“He really wants to spend more time with his wife and daughter. I know he enjoys being a husband and father.

“It was Sir Steve Redgrave’s retiring speech at Lake Lanier, Atlanta in Georgia after winning his fourth gold medal in successive Olympic Games in 1996 when he said, “Anybody who sees me in a boat has my permission to shoot me”. He was 34 and had won his fourth successive gold medal.

“He did however go on to win his fifth gold in Sydney in 2000. I know Alan better than that. He will gracefully go after Rio.”

The Campbell’s have some amazing memories travelling the world watching their son compete at the highest level in his chosen sport.

“As a couple we are not big into sun holidays and yet Alan has thrown us into a world of places that would never have been on our wish list like Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, New Zealand 2010, and now Rio,” said Jennifer.

“We have been to his other Olympic Games in Athens 2004 when he came 12th in the Quadruple Sculls, Beijing 2008 (single sculls) when he came fifth after serious injury leading up to the Games and of course London 2012 when he made history in single sculls for Team GB as the first medal winner since 1928.

“Obviously we are looking forward to Alan competing in Rio in the single and doing his best as he represents his country, his sport, his family, his coaches, and everybody who knows and supports him.

“Alan got a personal letter from Dame Mary Peters, in which she reminded him that he is ‘a member of a very exclusive club – those that have the privilege to compete in an Olympic Games’. And what a privilege! We hope to enjoy the experience, it’s as simple as that!”