Jon out to repay family backing

Bronze medallists Britain's Liam Heath (R) and Jon Schofield stand on the podium during the victory ceremony for the men's kayak double (K2) 200m final at the Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Jim Young (BRITAIN  - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT CANOEING)
Bronze medallists Britain's Liam Heath (R) and Jon Schofield stand on the podium during the victory ceremony for the men's kayak double (K2) 200m final at the Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young (BRITAIN - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT CANOEING)

With his family having already previously booked their flights to Rio, last week’s Team GB canoe sprint announcement could have made for awkward viewing for Jon Schofield.

Thankfully any worries were unfounded as the London 2012 bronze medallist saw his place on the plane to Brazil rubberstamped at Dorney Lake – with the 31-year-old intending to make sure to repay his loved ones for their support.

Schofield and long term partner Liam Heath will go in the men’s K2 200m at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas looking to upgrade on their third-place finish from four years ago.

And while one of the more experienced heads on the team, he insists the excitement of making his second Olympic Games is just as strong as his first selection.

“Our families were pretty excited when they found out because they’d already booked their flights! So it is a little bit of a relief,” he said.

“They did it quite a while ago, it saves a lot of money so they had confidence in me but we still had to do the job to get that selection.

“You plan for success, but you don’t take it for granted so it’s nice when it comes together.

“It was a dream come true to be a part of team GB once, so to have it twice is something I can’t quite put into words how special it will be to go to a Games abroad.

“It’s what you work towards for the last four years and your whole career, everything coming together after working so hard to get there is such a rewarding feeling.

“We’ve already moved onto thinking about that first race, thinking about that start line and what will come then.

“The sport has such small margins, and we know being in the top three is well within our capabilities but we know that it’s going to be incredibly hard. We have to be hard to beat and hopefully that can be enough.”

A European gold medallist in 2012, 2011 and 2010, as well as a five-time World medallist, Schofield certainly has experience of competing at the highest level.

He graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Human Biology, while he also has an MSc in Applied Physiotherapy and Biomechanics from Brunel University.

Over 60% of gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, and Schofield looks back on his university days fondly: “I gave a lot to the team and the University gave me a lot back in terms of training and my main goals which was the World Championships.”

l British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games www.bucs.org.uk