Four years after Australia snatched a brilliant gold medal in the K4 1000 in London, Jacob Clear is back to defend the title.
He will, of course, have three teammates in the boat alongside him when the heats begin on Friday, but the 31-year-old plumber from the Gold Coast is the last remaining member of the original crew.
David Smith has retired, Tate Smith is serving a suspension, and Murray Stewart competed in the K1 1000, leaving Clear as the only athlete to go around again in the team boat.
Clear has taken on the role of elder statesman with relish, providing guidance for the younger crew members. He’s also very much the cool head in a crisis, the unflinching rock around which a world-class crew is constructed.
“I am really looking forward to racing in the current crew to see what we are capable of,” Clear said.
“I have really enjoyed being one of the ‘older blokes’ and am always happy to pass on guidance to the younger boys.
“They are like sponges and just take it all in. Hopefully it helps them a little to know what to expect.”
Clear will be joined in the K4 by fellow three-time Olympian and three-time medal winner, Ken Wallace, and U23 K2 1000 World Championship gold medallists, Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood.
“It is a little different I suppose, I’m a little more relaxed as I know what’s ahead and what to expect,” Clear said.
“Things will stay pretty similar to London, but there will be a few slight variations due to the different location and conditions, and different crew as everyone likes to prepare slightly different.”
The heats of the men’s K4 will begin Friday morning, Rio time, with the final scheduled for Saturday morning.