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Creaky Ginn poised for greatness
Jim Morton
15:50 AEST Wed Jun 20 2012

Australian sporting immortality looms for master rower Drew Ginn if his "creaky haunted house" of a body can hold together at the London Games.

Three gold medals from as many Olympics and a shiny new-model Oarsome Foursome has the 37-year-old poised to create history at Eton Dorney.

Ian Thorpe has five gold medals while Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and Betty Cuthbert all reaped four golds, but no Australian has triumphed at four different Games.

Ginn is on track to be the first with his men's four crew taking an Ashes-style fight up to Great Britain who have dominated the event since he successfully debuted in the original Oarsome Foursome in 1996.

GB's pride-and-joy boat won in Sydney, Athens and Atlanta and were strong favourites on home soil before Australia - containing Ginn, young gun Josh Dunkley-Smith, Sydney banker James Chapman and Will Lockwood - upset them at World Cup 3, the final pre-Olympic regatta, on June 17.

It's heaped extra pressure on the world champion Brits and promised a captivating, ding-dong battle on August 4.

Rowing Australia (RA) is boldly targeting a national record three gold in London while the powerful hosts believe they can win an unprecedented 10 medals.

And it is the men's four which will hold most attention for the arch-rivals.

Ginn, who turned briefly to cycling after winning men's pair gold with Duncan Free, must defy his age and two delicate back operations to lead the way.

He admits there's times when his 196cm, 90kg frame feels "like a creaky, old haunted house".

"There's sounds and noises and senses of things, and I've got to buy into it," Ginn told AAP. "There could be a ghost in the attic or there could be something downstairs under the house or something.

"The signs of wear and tear and age is just natural and it's something that I've become more comfortable with in the last little while.

"It will never be perfect but I feel I can pretty much do exactly what I want to do in terms of drive and load and movement."

Ginn isn't the only uplifting story in the 46-strong RA team in London.

Eight years after the women's eight was in the news for the wrong reasons when Sally Robbins lay down in Athens, another women's eight - calling themselves the Motley Crew - has qualified against the odds after an 11th-hour resurrection.

But the sport has again gained most publicity from a boat bust-up with RA dumping Pippa Savage from the women's quad sculls after continued clashes with crew-mates.

Savage has enjoyed a reinstatement, of sorts, by being named as a non-travelling reserve on appeal but only an injury to an incumbent will see her row in London.

Of Australia's 12 boats, more than half are genuine medal shots.

Heavyweight battles with the Brits are across the board, with the world champion men's lightweight fours, women's pair and women's double sculls boast also with a GB crew in their way.

For Ginn, he's not ruling out a 2016 return where he could equal English rowing knight Sir Steve Redgrave with a fifth gold.

"I'll do a seance and see what the house says."

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