London 2012 - Purchase: No home advantage
Great Britain rower Zac Purchase is fearful home advantage will be more of a hindrance than a help as he bids to defend his Olympic crown at London 2012.
Purchase teamed up with Mark Hunter to scoop lightweight double sculls gold in Beijing in 2008, before a mystery illness ensured his 2009 season was written off.
The 23-year-old had hoped to compete in the lightweight single sculls last year, with Hunter taking an extended leave of absence in the USA, but he was sidelined four four-and-a-half months and opted to re-set his targets on 2010.
Hunter has returned to the Great Britain fray and with the 2010 World Championships scheduled for October, Purchase is targeting his second world title, having claimed the singles crown in 2006.
With the World Championships scheduled for so late in the season in New Zealand, Purchase is mindful of the fact that 2011, Olympic qualification year, will follow hot the heels of the current season.
London 2012 remains Purchase's goal after putting the illness that threatened to hamper his chances of a second Olympic appearance, behind him but he remains concerned the familiarity of Dorney Lake in Eton might count against Great Britain. †††††
I think the most important thing because we are rowing at Dorney Lake at London 2012 is that it doesn't seem too familiar, said Purchase.
The trickiest part of having a home competition is that it can be too familiar and you don't have that buzz of competing somewhere exotic to take you up a notch.
One of the reasons we do well when we compete abroad is that we go up a level because it's different to the norm.
It's exciting and new and you stay focused on the job in hand rather than thinking it's just another training day.
That's one of the reasons we don't train there because it's the Olympic lake and we don't want to get too used to it.
Purchase's illness was shrouded in mystery, but was serious enough to ensure he has spent very little time on the water since Beijing.
And while he revealed that at one stage he was unsure if he would be back in a boat at all, Purchase insists he will be impossible to ignore in 2010.
The last 18 months have been a bit of a whirlwind with the euphoria of the Olympics and then getting ill and not being sure when I would be back, he added.
I took four-and-a-half months out, which was effectively a whole summer season because of my illness.
I didn't know what effect it was going to have on my body long term and so this season has really been about finding out what shape I'm in and getting a feel for rowing again.
I have been careful to see how far I can push my body and I've been working on just getting back my general fitness.
They say for every month you take out you need two months to get back and I'm beginning to realise that now.
I don't think anyone would want to compete and not be in the race to win and cross the line first so although I'm coming back from illness that desire to win is still there.
There is no reason why I can't come back and hit the form I had going into Beijing.