OLYMPIC obsessed Lily Abbott hopes that countless hours spent on YouTube studying rowing footage will take her to the Games herself.
Currently studying at Tideway Scullers Prep, the Teddington talent won a seat in the British boat at the prestigious Coupe de la Jeunesse in Italy before being banned.
Abbott attended Kingston Grammar School and, before beginning an American odyssey at Duke University this August, is now taking advantage of a gap year.
The 18-year-old has enjoyed the Olympics for as long as she can remember, and hopes that it can motivate her to reach the dizzying heights of the Games she has always dreamed of by carefully studying previous races and watching the action in Tokyo in exactly 200 days.
Abbott, who is financially sponsored by a three-year agreement between Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, and SportsAid, when asked what it would mean to represent her nation at a possible Olympics, said, “It would be insane.”
Abbott began rowing at Kingston Grammar School and wants to pursue heroes such as Dame Katherine Grainger in the footsteps of
“On YouTube, I watch the Olympic highlights and think it’s so cool. I’ve always been involved in the Olympics, even though I haven’t rowed all my life.
“I think it would be insane for me to be in this place. You work so hard and it would just be crazy to get a reward like that.
We looked at the various countries at school and their different racing styles.
“While you can watch events like the Henley Regatta live, we’ve seen all the well-known races – it’s really high-end, foreign racing. I really enjoy watching it and it’s pretty cool.
I wasn’t rowing when the 2012 Olympics were here, so I had no idea and didn’t even know anything about it.
“But then 2016 was really cool because that’s when I was starting my rowing journey. It was great to watch everybody.”
The collaboration between Entain and SportsAid is part of the campaign “Pitching In” and was initiated with the help of Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in 2019.
As she prepares for her scholarship at Duke University in North Carolina, the investment will assist Abbott to achieve her potential and provide vital funding for preparation, travel, equipment and mentoring.
Tokyo is coming too fast for Abbott, but at the Olympics in Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028, the London-based ace is targeting a location.
Abbott is embarking on an American odyssey around the pond this summer at Duke University in North Carolina
Her education has pitted her against some of the biggest stars in Britain, and Abbott hopes that learning from the best would place her on a similar Olympic course.
Abbott, who follows in the same SportsAid footsteps as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah and Dina Asher-Smith, adds: “It’s pretty cool because I’m training with people who have competed in the Olympics,”
Seeing people move on this road is amazing. I think 2021 is going to be pretty awesome – I know a lot about the sport now and I know people in the sport, so it’s going to be interesting.
“They’re obviously training at such a high level – it’s nice to have a clear goal, see people further along the path, learn from their insights and know where I need to be next.”
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to help the next generation of British sports heroes by providing promising young athletes in collaboration with SportsAid with financial support and personal growth opportunities. Entain sponsors a diverse community of 50 British athletes each year from a range of spots and para-sports as part of this three-year partnership. Visit entaingroup.com