Redgrave: Jesus Christ will point at Olympic rowers and say 'that's how it's done!'

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Steve Redgrave has allayed fears over the rowing venue for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, describing the facility - in the shadow of Christ the Redeemer - as "stunning".

Concerns have been raised about the safety of Olympic and Paralympic water venues in the build-up to the Games, amid claims viruses and bacteria from human sewage were present.

But Redgrave insists the world's rowers are in for a treat and joked that the position of Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in relation to Rio's iconic statue guarantees at least one satisfied spectator.

"I rowed on it once two years ago and it's an absolutely stunning venue," the five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist told Omnisport. "You've got the statue of Christ overlooking the bay.

"I was at a function at the end of last year and the sailors that had just been selected were saying 'We've got Jesus Christ looking over us'.

"But Jesus Christ's right arm is pointing directly down the rowing course.

"So I said to the sailors, 'he may be watching you, but he's pointing down at the rowers and saying 'that's how it's done!'"

But Redgrave - an ambassador for the Team GB Club supporters' initiative, part of the Bring on the Great campaign - expressed his sadness at the scrapping of a 4,000-seat grandstand at the venue for financial reasons.

"Not having that grandstand is a bit of a disappointment," he added. "We always get our biggest viewers at the Olympic Games, those that are on site.

"We had 30,000 estimated, going up to 35,000, at London and it was an unbelievable atmosphere.

"There will be some boats from Brazil there, but they won't be medal contenders, so the home crowd won't be a huge advantage for their crews, but to compete you want as much noise and as much atmosphere as possible.

"Because it's in the heart of the city, rowing has never had this before, so even though there may be less seats for spectators there, there'll still be an amazing atmosphere."

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