When you think of rowing, you probably think of the names Steve Redgrave and Mathew Pinsent who have, between them, won 9 golds (3 of them together in the Coxless pairs) and have gone down in history as two of Britain’s greatest Olympians. The name Debbie Flood probably doesn’t spring to mind.
The 32 year old from Harrogate, Yorkshire, who already has two Olympic Silvers to her name, qualified for the quadruple scull final at London 2012. Although the team didn't manage to win a medal, Debbie's impressive CV boasts three World Championship Golds in the women's quad (2006, 2007 and 2010), as well as two golds at the World U23 Championships in 1998 and 2000.
Debbie Flood: On Jesus' team.
Reaching the Olympic final was the the culmination of a 15 year journey, which began as a sports mad 17 year-old when Debbie first jumped on a rowing machine in her father’s gym.
Although she missed out on Olympic Gold, it won’t be the end of the world for the committed Christian; raised in a sporty Christian family and who accepted Christ as a teenager.
In a speech to the 'Flame' Congress earlier this year, she told her audience: “Will I be an Olympic Champion? I believe I can be. But I will not take my medals with me to heaven when I pass away.
"My rowing career may temporarily define me, but it will not shape who I am inside or change me in any way. Win or lose in rowing, I am part of Jesus’ team - and for me, that’s a win in life.”
Not your typical Olympic athlete, she learnt Mandarin for the Beijing Olympics and is a part-time prison officer who took a year out from rowing in 2009 to work at a young offenders' home.
Finding her niche working amongst troubled youth, Debbie will go full time as a prison warder after the Olympics: “A lot of people do a really good job with them. It’s a really worthwhile thing to do. You can either cope with it or you can’t, and I wanted to give it a try. I felt I could. I believe that God put me here to work with kids.”
Debbie Flood is certainly making a difference for Christ in the world of sport, and in the lives of Britain's troubled youth.
July 30th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Hefin Rhys Jones