I pushed myself too hard, says "Lay Down Sally"

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Pushing herself beyond her physical capabilities to please others caused her dramatic meltdown during the Athens Olympic final, Australian rower Sally Robbins said on Thursday.

Australian rower Sally Robbins speaks at a news conference in Athens August 24, 2004. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh tw

Robbins was dubbed “Lay Down Sally” after she stopped rowing and collapsed from exhaustion during the women’s eights final at the 2004 Games.

The 26-year-old attempted to qualify for this year’s Beijing Games but failed to win selection in Australia’s double sculls crew.

“In my personality I like to please others and try to do things beyond my capabilities,” Robbins told reporters in Perth. “Outside of sport this is a generally seen as a really good trait, but in rowing it has proven my weakness.

“In trying to please others ... I tried too hard and went beyond my capabilities.

“I push myself mentally and physically beyond my limits. There is only so much a human body can take.

“Going beyond my limits in the pressure of an Olympic final led to the collapse at the Olympic Games.”

Robbins is still undecided about whether she will try to compete at the 2012 London Games.

“To be honest I am not sure what the next step is ... but I came back to rowing because I love it and it is my passion,” Robbins said.

“Being an elite athlete involves huge sacrifices ... I know it is a big decision, but I know I still have the desire to achieve my dreams.

“Every athlete’s dream is to win an Olympic medal, or an Olympic gold medal to be exact, so it’s definitely a possibility.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ed Osmond