Five-time gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave’s message to young Bermudian athletes dreaming of Olympic glory is simple — believe.
The island’s only medal arrived in 1976 when boxer Clarence Hill claimed bronze in Montreal, although Bermuda remains the smallest population to stand on the podium in the summer Games.
Redgrave has been dubbed the greatest Olympian ever after his five golds in five successive Olympics in the demanding endurance sport of rowing.
And the Great Britain legend, in Bermuda for golf’s Hackers Cup, which heads to Tucker’s Point today, said attitude and not nationality is what gets you to the top of your sport.
He told the Bermuda Sun: “If you want to be the best in the world, you have to beat everyone in the world, so why can’t a small island do it? Why can’t a small community do it? There is no reason why not.
“That’s the way I tend to look at things. Instead of coming up with reasons I can’t do it, come up with reason why you can do it.
“Someone’s got to be Olympic champion, why can’t it be me and go at it with that attitude rather than [think] we don’t have the right facilities, the same competition.”
Redgrave held up the US’ success in rowing — a minority sport in that country — for their mental approach, something he believes Bermudian athletes can seek to emulate if they have ambitions of making a real mark on the world stage.
He said: “In the rowing world, the American eight have been at the top of the field for a very long time but they never come over to Europe to race. You very rarely see them.
“They come over for major championships — so you can do it in your own little bubble. Rowing’s not a very big sport in the States — but the culture they have is they believe they are the best in the world so they train at that level and when they come over they expect to win.
“They don’t always but they expect to and it’s that mental approach of looking at the positives that’s key.”
Don’t miss Friday’s Sun for Redgrave’s Olympic memories and the secret to his success.