Katherine Grainger has praised Anna Watkins' analytical approach to rowing after winning gold.
Last Updated: 03/08/12 2:45pm
Many who witnessed rower Anna Watkins win gold in the double scull might have assumed her success was down to a simple combination of strength and stamina.
But the 29-year-old brought an intelligence to the boat that contributed to the stunning performance at Eton Dorney.
Watkins is studying for a PhD in mathematics, and before the race her partner Katherine Grainger praised her analytical approach.
"We come at things differently. Anna's background is very much in science and mathematics," Grainger said.
"She understands the mechanics of the boat and the bio-mechanics of what we do.
"She will analyse and study the numbers and bring out things I would never have thought of."
Watkins, who grew up in Leek, Staffordshire, began rowing when she was 18 at Newnham College, Cambridge.
She took up the sport simply to get fit, and because a friend told her she was "built for rowing".
But her coaches, Tim Granger and Michael Gifford, spotted her potential and encouraged her to apply for a place on a national talent identification programme named Start.
After graduating from Cambridge in the summer of 2005 Watkins moved south to train full time with the GB women's squad, and now lives in the market town of Wokingham, Berkshire.
She won a bronze medal in the double sculls at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Elise Laverick.
She got married in 2009, and decided to switch from rowing under her maiden name, Bebington, in favour of her married name.
In 2010 she claimed gold at the World Championships with Grainger, and the pair retained their title the following year with a dominant display.
But all those successes were a prelude to the Olympic gold secured on Friday in Buckinghamshire.