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Gregory: With the Games almost here, it’s a bit surreal

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A rower trains at Eton Dorney in preparation for the Olympic Games (Reuters)

We arrived back from Portugal and had one night at home before moving into our Olympic accommodation, near the lake at Dorney.

We've visited the Olympic Village to be welcomed to the team and have a look round. Even though we're not staying there, we had a talk and a tour to see what it's like, have lunch there and really feel a part of the team.

We've rowed on the lake back in Eton before but never with the stands and the buildings on the banks.

Being here now is a bit surreal. I've been aiming towards this moment ever since I started rowing, and more specifically for four years, but it seems to have somehow crept up on us. It's come round very quickly.

We've had a great four or five weeks away in Austria and then Portugal training and preparing for the start of the Games. It feels like we've made progress with a few changes and we're going fast.

We're doing exactly the same programme as we would leading up to any big championships. Just because it's the Olympics doesn't mean it's a special race - it's the same distance, the same boats and we pull just as hard. And so the training is exactly the same - every day, just like the rest of the year. That said, in the week before competition starts, we'll do much less mileage. We bring down the distance and ramp up the intensity by doing more race-paced pieces - higher rate, higher intensity and less distance.

Coaches have the same feelings that we as athletes have - they get nervous just as we do, no doubt about it. Maybe they get even more nervous than us when we get in the boat to race because they have no influence after that.

Juergen Groebler is hugely experienced in the Olympics. He's very calm, a great motivator and confidence-builder. I've really discovered that over the last couple of weeks. I imagine in the next week leading up to the first race, he won't change that. He'll stay calm, inspire confidence and make us feel good. That's his main role now. He's set the programme, we've done the training and he'll be there to keep us calm and cool and do the job we need to do.

Up until today, it really has felt like any other competition. We've been away in our own bubble at our training camps. Just 24 guys in various boats with our coaches. We've been separated from the UK and the Olympic hype, but arriving home and getting to the Village it has really ramped up.

We've seen the excitement of the volunteers and the general public have been keen to speak to us. It's amazing - unusual and something we've never had before. It definitely feels different to anything else but it isn't anything to be worried about.

Two-times world champion and gold medal contender for Great Britain's coxless four in London Alex Gregory will be blogging for Eurosport-Yahoo! during the 2012 Olympic Games.

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