Lancaster golden boy Durant still coming to terms with Olympic triumph

Scott Durant with pupils from Lancaster Royal Grammar School on his return to the city.
Scott Durant with pupils from Lancaster Royal Grammar School on his return to the city.

The fulfilment of his lifetime ambition is something which Lancaster rower Scott Durant is still coming to terms with.

Just over a month has passed since the 28-year-old star achieved sporting immortality in Rio de Janeiro.

The former Lancaster Royal Grammar school pupil was a member of Team GB’s Men’s Eight which stormed to the gold medal at the Olympic Games, in Brazil.

They won the race comprehensively, leading from the gun to finish well ahead of second-placed Germany and the Netherlands, who took bronze.

That sparked celebratory scenes on the picturesque setting of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, which is overlooked by the iconic Christ the Redeemer.

Pure joy and elation was etched on Durant’s face in the immediate aftermath of his success in Rio.

But when I met him outside a coffee shop in the market square of his home city last week, there were a few shakes of his head in between sips of his cappuccino as he reflected on his amazing success story.

“It’s funny. It still really hasn’t sunk in,” said Durant, who also attended St Wilfrid’s Primary School.

“It’s quite a strange feeling to think that I’m an Olympic champion.

“Winning gold at an Olympics is something that I had always dreamed of doing, but it’s something that I probably thought I was never going to achieve.

“It’s kind of in your wildest dreams.

“So it’s a strange feeling achieving something that you’ve always dreamed of.

“An Olympic gold is the greatest accolade in our sport – it doesn’t get any higher than that.

“Don’t get me wrong, there was complete elation at the time, but now I kind of feel a little bit empty, but I think that has got something to do with the fact that I don’t know what I’m really going to do next.”

Durant – who was first introduced to the sport at the age of 14 at school – admitted everything about his experience in Rio lived up to his expectations.

“I would say it did live up to my expectations,” he said.

“I have been dreaming about going to the Olympics since I was 14 when I started rowing.

“So I have been thinking about it for 14 years and everything I thought it would be and was expecting it to be, it was.

“The venues are fantastic, especially in Rio, especially for the rowers – the setting could not of been any more picturesque.

“Team GB look after you really well – there’s a great sense of team spirit.

“When you are there, even though you try to put things out of your mind and try to focus on your event, you can’t help notice that it’s the Olympic Games – the rings are everywhere.”

Despite his success in Brazil, he is noncommittal about the prospect of repeating his success in four years’ time when the Games is staged in Tokyo – the capital of Japan.

Having devoted his life to the sport over the past four years, Durant is eager to take a break to decide what his future holds.

“I am not sure about Tokyo,” he said.

“I haven’t given much thought to my rowing after Rio. My thoughts have all been trained on August 13 and the race in Rio.

“In the four years from 2012 to 2016 that’s all I have been thinking about.

“I have not really been thinking about whether I would like to go on to Tokyo.

“I need to have a bit of time, let everything settle down and see whether I have the motivation or if I really want to do another four years.

“The date to go back training is October 4 but I am going to see if I can have another couple months more to chill out.

“I would definitely struggle to go back now put it one way. I would struggle for motivation definitely.”