KATHERINE Grainger is still oscillating about whether or not she should get back in a boat or not.
The Marlow rowing legend ended her own Olympic heartbreak at London 2012 when she finally won gold after taking silvers in the three previous Games.
But despite that fairytale finish, or perhaps because of it, the 38-year-old has grave reservations about coming back to defend the double sculls title she won so spectacularly with Anna Watkins at Dorney Lake.
Watkins has already ruled herself out after becoming a mother, and although Grainger was meant to make up her mind last autumn, she is still undecided.
The six-time world champion said: “I’m in my own massive crisis in my own little world. In all honesty, I haven’t decided what I’m doing.
“The deadline was last September but I couldn’t come up with an answer. I met with the decision-makers in British rowing and I was very honest.
“It takes over your life and your commitment has to be absolute. If I’m in, I’m in. I don’t want to go back just to get the kit. I want to go back and get the gold medal.
"But I know what that would take. It’s such a huge commitment and such a precarious thing. You’re in a team and if anything happens to one of those people, then it’s game over.
“That’s the thing about team sport, you put your hopes and dreams in others and that’s why the bonds become unbreakable, but it’s also a risk.”
Grainger’s win two summers ago was one of the stories of the Games. She is already Britain’s most successful ever female rower and her place in the history books is secure.
A second Olympic gold would obviously deepen her legacy, but she fears that failure in Brazil might tarnish it.
She said: “At the moment I have this lovely story from London 2012 and this very happy ending and do I want to compromise that by coming back and not winning again?”
That said, Grainger would never have won what she’s won and achieved what she’s achieved if she wasn’t inspired by a challenge.
She said: “There is something quite magical about being out on the river, but things get very rose-tinted after a big success and now I don’t remember a bad day in four years.
"It was marvellous. The mind plays tricks. But I know if I go back in a boat the first few months are going to be horrific.
"But the other thing is that another gold is possible and it’s hard to think I would chose to walk away from it. I’d have to live with that decision.
"Everyone who is sensible and smart and whose opinion I would respect all say it’s a risk.
“You’re risking your reputation and leaving on a disappointment.
“That’s what they say. So I don’t know. But I’m going to need to know very soon."