MATTHEW Langridge believes he will be an Olympic medallist by Sunday week.
The 24-year-old Northwich oarsman is in the British eight which is catching up fast on the world champions Canada and may even spring a golden surprise.
Langridge, of London Road, Northwich, said: “I am quietly confident.
“The boat is going well. Canada may be World Champions but we are not far behind them.”
Langridge raced in the double sculls at the Athens Games four years ago and will call upon that experience in Beijing, where the eights get underway on Sunday.
He is also determined to make up for the disappointment of not making the final last time and is seemingly in the crew to help him do just that.
In the three World Cup fixtures this season Britain finished second, third and first, though Canada did not compete.
Langridge was coached at Northwich Rowing Club by Paul Rafferty and went on to become the first Briton ever to win the junior world sculling title.
Rafferty said: “He has a chance of the gold. There could well be a blanket finish with only a second or half-a-second between the boats.
“I know he is confident, I know he is up for it and that he is injury free.
“Knowing him he is only really interested in the gold and with a little luck, who knows, he may get it.
“The crew has gelled on and off the water. For some it will be their last Olympics and they want to go out with a bang. They are in the mix.”
Langridge occupies the seat behind the stroke with the first round televised by BBC on Sunday morning.
Mid Cheshire’s other interest in the Olympics is Davenham-born Paula Radcliffe, who has travelled to Beijing uncertain whether she is fit enough to contest the marathon.
She is the world record holder and, like Langridge, determined to make up for disappointment in Athens. She failed to finish the race, but said this week she has now fully recovered from a left leg stress fracture diagnosed in May and will run on August 17.
Radcliffe, 34, lived at Barnton and then Kingsley until the age of 12.