OLYMPIC FINALIST JUMPS SHIP TO SERVE WITH ROYAL MARINES IN HELMAND
Beijing silver medalist Lt Tom Lucy, 23 is nearly half way through his first tour of Afghanistan serving with K Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. He helped Great Britain’s eight-man rowing crew to a silver medal just behind Canada in the Beijing finals in 2008.
Lt Lucy learnt to row at Monmouth school and quickly earned recognition for his fitness and natural affinity for the support which led him on the road to Beijing.
After achieving his Olympic dream he decided to fulfill his childhood ambition of joining the Royal Marines and earning the coveted green beret. This meant giving up his chance of rowing in the London 2012 Olympics.
“Joining the Royal Marines was always my life-time ambition; ever since I was 6 that’s all I’ve wanted to do. I started rowing when I was fifteen. I had a brilliant time and got as far as I’d ever hoped and dreamed I’d get and after that it was time for a change”.
The Welshman, having completed the arduous course at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) Lympstone he know finds himself leading the men of K Company in Nahr-e Saraj south in Helmand Province.
Every day is different and can range from patrolling with the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) to providing security for veterinary engagements.
“It’s very important work and we’re helping to build the capability of the Afghan forces every single day. We’re always out and about developing our relationship with the local people and deterring insurgents”.
There are vast similarities between life as an Olympic rower and as a Royal Marine. Staying fit is a necessity as is teamwork. But living in a humble patrol base is far away from the hype and pomp of the Olympics.
- “When I come to watch the 2012 Olympics I will feel a pang of wishing I was there, but I know it’ll only be temporary. I really enjoy the job and my team are doing a fantastic job.
- Tangible progress is being made and I get immense satisfaction from seeing the differences that we are helping to make for the Afghan people. It’s immensely rewarding”.
“If I’d carried on rowing for four years it would have made the transition into this career a lot more difficult and also there’s no guarantee that you’ll get there.
The four years of Olympiad is fraught with dangers of illness and injury and on race day there’s no guarantee you’re going to achieve the result you want. So I’m happy to be where I am”.
However, At only 23, Lt Lucy hasn’t ruled out future competitions and you may see him in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“I won’t get back into it too soon as there’s still things I want to achieve in the Royal Marines, but I’ve not written it off at all. If I can get myself back into shape I’ll give it another shot in the near future”.