Alumni News Spring 2013: Interview with Pamela Relph

The below article appeared in the Spring 2013 edition of Alumni News (the predecessor to Old Joe magazine).

The greatest row on Earth

After being medically discharged from a Military training scheme in 2010, Pamela Relph MBE (BSc Physics, 2011) took up rowing and is taking the sport by storm. A London 2012 Paralympic Gold medalist as part of Team GB’s LTA mixed coxed four, Pamela reflects on her unforgettable summer.

Can you describe your feelings after crossing the line? I felt so emotional after racing but I don't think it was happiness about winning straight away. I think it was more relief that the race was over because it hurt more than anything has hurt in my life and relief that we had done what we and everyone else had wanted us to do.

After winning the 2011 World Championships in Slovenia, did you think Paralympic gold was in reach? Yes! I set my mind on the gold as soon as we started training after the World Championships. I trained with a mentality that every training session you do in the freezing cold when you would rather be in bed is where medals are won and lost.

What sort of memory do you have of the Paralympic final? I remember thinking on the start line that the next three minutes and twenty seconds was going to hurt a lot. But also knowing our race plan and trusting in the training we had done and the race experience we had as a crew. Weirdly I remember a helicopter flying around and thinking 'how rude, do they not know we are about to race the most important race of our lives?' and then later realising it was because we had Kate Middleton watching in the stands.

What has life been like since becoming Paralympic Gold Medalist? I have had an awesome time since the Paralympics. I think a memory that will stay with me forever will be the medalist’s reception at Buckingham Palace with the Queen which was such an honour.

What legacy will London 2012 have on Great Britain? I hope participation in sports will increase, at whatever level and for all ages following the Games.

What are the best memories from your time at Birmingham? I loved my time at the University, especially being part of the University Cheerleading team, The Birmingham Pussycats and my favourite place on campus was definitely the Munrow Sports Centre.

Do you have a motto? I used the following quote a lot to inspire my training: ‘I do now what others won't - so I can have later what others can't’ - Anon

What are your plans for the future? I intend to stay on for Rio 2016 and hopefully I can defend my title there.