Sir Steve Redgrave has said that students have a stronger chance of becoming Olympic champions if they go to private schools.
The rower and five-time Olympic medal-winner, 54, attended a state school in Buckinghamshire, where it was an English teacher who gave him a shot at the sport.
He told the Radio Times: "Early on in my career, people were saying, 'You're capable of being an Olympic champion', so I took that mantle on.
"Hopefully, I would have done whatever background I came from.
"But it's not always the case: the opportunity of playing different sports and the coaching abilities at private schools are, unfortunately, much greater than at the state schools."
However, he added: "It's not as bad as people think it is."
Sir Steve will attend the Rio Olympics 2016, where he will work for the BBC and serve as an ambassador for Team GB.
Despite concerns about infrastructure problems in Rio, the Zika virus, security issues and water pollution, he said he is not worried about the Games.
"I'm feeling very positive," he said. "Look at Beijing. After the opening ceremony there's no talk about drugs, or human rights issues, it's about all those sports with the world's best athletes competing. That's how it should be."
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