Northern Ireland rowing star Alan Campbell is confident he will feel right at home in Rio as he goes into 2016 seeking a second successive Olympic medal.
The 32-year-old from Coleraine has already experienced a home Games, having been inspired by the now legendary Dorney Roar to win bronze in the men’s single scull at London 2012.
And while he will never get to experience that again, Campbell says his family connections mean that rowing in Rio next summer would be the next closest thing.
“My wife’s father is a Carioca, having been raised on Ipanema in Rio,” Campbell explained.
“He is now living in England but my wife still has family in Brazil and it would be very special for me to compete there feeling like a second home Olympics.”
Campbell – whose medal in London was Britain’s first in the single scull for 84 years – has had a difficult couple of seasons following injury and illness but was able to qualify the boat for Rio during the 2015 World Championships in Aiguebelette, France.
His first aim in 2016 is to secure selection but should he achieve that then Campbell has an idea of what to expect when the spectacular Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas hosts the Olympic regatta from August 6-13.
The former Coleraine Academical Institution for Boys pupil has rowed on the natural lake – located just minutes from Ipanema Beach and overlooked by the Christ the Redeemer statue – during his visits to Brazil.
“The Lagoa is a very special venue, probably the most iconic I have visited and had the pleasure to train on,” Campbell added.
“Rio itself is probably my favourite city in the world after London and the Brazilians that I met were amazing and very kind to me.
“I am confident the Rio Olympics will be a first-class experience, not just for the athletes but also supporters coming to be part of the 2016 Games. I can’t wait to get going.”
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