Every-Hall shelves retirement plans to focus on Rio

Bendigo rower Hannah Every-Hall has set her sights on the 2016 Olympic Games believing she has unfinished business after London.

Every-Hall feels unfulfilled after finishing fifth in the women’s lightweight double sculls final with partner Bronwen Watson at this year’s Olympics. Qualifying in an outside lane, the Australian duo had to battle the tougher conditions on the course and Every-Hall wants to prove she can do better.

“I do feel quite unfulfilled after London and would definitely love to get a medal. The desire is there to keep going,” Every-Hall said.

“In retrospect, we were happy with our row in the final and it was everything we could have done, but there was definitely disadvantages being in the outside lane. But that’s where we qualified and it’s an outdoor sport, so you do expect that’s what you get.

“I knew what I was capable of and I don’t think we got the best out of it, so in that sense it’s quite unfulfilling.”

While Watson is considering starting a family or taking up mountain biking, Every-Hall is determined to go to her second Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in four years’ time.

She would be 38 years old in Rio, but after having to pull out of the Athens Olympic trials due to an anaphylactic reaction and then missing Beijing while she started a family, the now Canberra resident is determined to make the most of her career comeback. 

“There definitely is that and my husband is the one going ‘if you want to go, just go, do it’,” Every-Hall said. “The old cliché you’re a long time retired is quite evident, especially when you put in so much effort. 

“I was pulling some of my best times on the water and on the rowing machine leading into the Olympics, so you think ‘well, I am still getting better’. If I am, then why not keep going?”

Every-Hall is waiting to speak to Rowing Australia officials, where the high performance director and coaching staff are being overhauled, for a post-Olympics debrief.

She has scaled back her training since London and is considering whether to have a year off the sport to freshen-up for a tilt at Rio.

“The whole idea of going through selection trials and all that again at the moment is quite daunting, so I don’t know whether I do need some time off,” she said. 

“Going again is something I am gearing up for, it’s just a matter of whether it’s this year or next year.”

Since arriving home in August, Every-Hall has enjoyed spending more time with husband Mick and her two children, but has also had plenty of time to reflect on an incredible Olympic experience.

“There was crowds like never seen before in a regatta – 50,000 people in two stands – I liken it to what I think it would be like to run out on the MCG for an AFL grand final,” she said.

“The noise was electrifying and it was amazing, but it was just rowing so it did feel like another rowing regatta. 

“It wasn’t until we moved into the main village and you went to a couple of other different events that you did feel like you’re a part of a bigger event. Going to the athletics stadium for me was just the pinnacle.”

Every-Hall will visit local schools when she returns to visit Bendigo next week and will be a special guest at the Bendigo Rowing Club’s 140th anniversary celebrations on Saturday, October 13.

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