DOUBLE Olympic champion Pete Reed feels his career is back on track after it was proven that his loss of form was due to living with his two chihuahuas.
Poor results during winter training saw Reed, 32, lose his place in the showpiece coxless Men’s Four in which he won both his Olympic gold medals at Beijing and London.
He was barely able to breathe after crossing the finish line at the GB Trials in April.
Exhaustive tests by the GB rowing team doctors, including some for glandular fever, were carried out but they all came back negative.
And then Reed’s mum suggested he could have a dog allergy, like his father developed at the same age.
Reed reflected that his lungs would clear when on a training camp and he would perform well, but when he came home, his chest would then tighten and the breathing difficulties returned.
So he was tested for being allergic to dogs and this time the tests proved conclusive.
"It turns out I love rowing more than dogs," said Reed on his blog. “I can’t control it with medication. The solution is considerably worse than the problem.”
So the former Cirencester Deer Park pupil and his wife Frauke had to take the heartbreaking decision to re-home their two beloved chihuahuas, Maximus and Skyfall. And their flat was ‘de-dogged’.
Reed is now rapidly returning to his best form which is reflected in the improved results of his new boat, the Men’s Eight, which earned their best placing yet, a silver medal, at a recent World Cup event in France.
Reed said: "It was four months of hell. It was a really dark, tough time. If I did any high-end training then I would completely run out of power.
“I know how to handle things now. I feel we’ve got things under control and I’m back to my full capacity in terms of my ability to train.
“It’s exciting, I feel much better and I feel that I’m able to contribute to my crew again.”
Reed is now focused on next month’s World Championships (August 24-31) and flew out with the GB team to the Austrian mountains this week for altitude training before they head to Portugal for a speed camp.
“I’m very much looking forward to the World Championships in Amsterdam, but I’m also aware that we’ve got a lot of work to do as a crew between now and then,” said Reed.
“We’ve got a really strong group of guys – it’s the most powerful boat I’ve rowed in – and there’s also a good blend of youth and experience so it’s just about bringing all of that together over this block of training.”