Canoe slalom-ace Adam Burgess surprised his mum with a Home Support print to thank her for being there every step of the way of his sporting journey. We caught up with Adam, who insists home support can propel him to Olympic gold this summer.
Why did you give the Home Support artwork to your mum?
I chose to give the artwork to my mum because she has been there every step of the way. I started canoeing when I was 10 years old and she has always been my biggest supporter. I am gutted for her and the rest of my family that they will not be able to come out and watch me in Tokyo because they deserve it as much as I do. They have worked hard to support me.
In the early years, I relied so much on my parents. My mum was doing a lot of driving, taking me to rivers across the country, often standing on the riverbank when it was cold and wet. There were some late nights driving back and it is impossible to get to this level without that kind of support.
What do you think of the Home Support artwork?
I think Henry’s artwork is amazing. I love how he has incorporated a bit of the Japanese flag and there is obviously the Union Jack, the Olympic torch, and the fire. I think we are going to keep it at the canoe club in Stafford & Stone and hopefully, like it did for me, it can light that fire inside of others who can go on to compete at the Olympic Games.
How important will support from home be?
Team GB is such a well-supported team, the whole nation is behind us. It is going to mean the world to us, to know we have that support at home. The Purplebricks Home Support campaign is a massive part of that, and is drumming up support as we prepare for the Olympics. We will all do our job over in Tokyo to give you everyone back home something to cheer about and give them something to celebrate after a tough year.
As Team GB, we are a sum of the athletes, the support staff and the public supporting us. It is important and hopefully we can be successful at these Games.
Are you excited for the Games?
I am so excited to get out to Tokyo. I have had to be very patient because I have known for a very long time that I would be going. Training has been going well, and I cannot wait to be out there on that start-line. I know I am going to be nervous when I am there but that is part of the competition and it really makes me feel alive. We have used the extra year well, I feel like I am coming into form at the right time, and I cannot wait to get up there.
What are your hopes and expectations for Tokyo?
I am going there to win, absolutely. Any start-line I get on, I believe I am at that level where I could win. I would be going into this as the fourth seed, but it is canoe slalom, it is a wild sport, and anything can happen. It comes down to what myself and my team can do.
What are your first memories of the Olympics?
My first memory of watching the Olympic Games was seeing canoe slalom athlete Campbell Walsh win a silver medal at Athens. I had started canoeing only a year before that and my grandad had recorded it for me. I probably watched it 100 times! I think I was 12 years old and since then I have known exactly what I want to be doing.
Who is your inspiration?
I am a massive canoe slalom nerd, so growing up I would watch videos of all the top guys from Britain like Campbell Walsh and David Florence. But also, from abroad, I have a lot of respect for Tony Estanguet who is a triple Olympic champion from France. He is someone I really aspire to be like.
Who are your biggest supporters at home?
Along with my mum, my biggest supporters are both of my parents, the canoe club, and the local area – I always get amazing support from everyone here. I hope I can deliver what I am capable of and give us all something to celebrate.
I love my local area of Staffordshire; this will always be where I am from even though I train just outside of London now. Any excuse for me to get back here, I absolutely love it. This river as well, everything that is important about canoe slalom, I learnt it right here. It is not big, white water but it absolutely perfect for learning all the basic skills.
What are your home comforts?
When I go abroad, I must travel with my coffee set-up. It includes taking my own kettle and water filter! I am a bit of a coffee nerd, so that is my home comfort.
The first thing I do when I get home is to have a sleep in my own bed. I always miss that when I am on the road in hotels.