“ Rowing is a sport in which athletes race against each other over bodies of water. The boats are propelled by the athletes levering the boat through the water with oars. The sport can be either recreational or competitive. In the United States and Canada, high school and collegiate rowing is sometimes called crew. „
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Rowing is a very posh affair and like a sports day at a liberal independent school there are rosettes for everyone. Even if you finish last in the heats you can get another go through the reportage`. The venue for the Olympic Rowing was as equally posh, Eton-Dorney lakes on the Berkshire/Bucks border, the 25,000 seat event on the grounds of Eton public school. Due to public footpaths crossing the land you can sneak into the venue and watch the racing from the middle bit where the coaches on bikes go by for free, as did I. We went on Wednesday and had a great day out to witness one gold and one bronze and bombed across to East London to watch Bradley Wiggings win the second gold of the games, all for nothing!
That 25,000 capacity was behind our teams from the first hooter, definitely an advantage, literally sucking the British teams up the water, as if the British boats were riding a tsunami of hope and pride, the antidote to Iraq. We can equal those bombastic American crowds any day! So powerful was the support the British boats would make 13 out of the 13 finals they entered and take 9 medals.
New Zealand's Eric Murray and Hamish Bond got the racing underway by smashing the men's pair world record on day one in the heats by a massive six seconds in their opening Olympic heat, coming home in six minutes and eight seconds. This record was held by James Cracknell and Mathew Pinsent, the NZ pair unbeaten since Beijing.
For the first time there was no doubt the British girls were better than the boys in the home team. Great Britain's Helen Glover and Heather Stanning set a new Olympic record with a dominant victory in the first heat of their women's pair. The British girls have won all three of their World Cup races this year. No women has ever women Olympic gold in rowing going into London.
Cornish girl Glover is very sporty and was the first young athlete to win any sort of world championship medal from the 'Sporting Giants' scheme, set up to identify potential Olympic champions the day after we were awarded the Games. She only started rowing in 2008 and was world silver medalists by 2010; talent spotted by Steven Redgrave no less. As a junior she was a fringe England hockey squad player and cross-country performer. Stanning is a captain in the Air Force and headed to Afghanistan in the autumn, Olympic champion or not.
The rather masculine Catherine Grainger was the only Olympic medal holder in women's rowing going into the games, getting three straight silvers in three straight games, hoping to gold here. Grainger and Anna Watkins broke the Olympic record in the women's double sculls with a time of 6:44.33 to win the first heat and so straight through to the final. They looked fantastic and nailed on for the gold, already looking like the women will win the bulk of the Olympic medals in London. Redgrave revealed that he had spoken to David Beckham and they will get a peck on the cheek if they win gold in the final.
Djibo Issaka of Nigeria raised a smile or two in the single sculls as he trailed in 1 minute 39 seconds behind the winner of his heat, the only black face in the regatta by the looks. This was public school territory. For some reason black people tend not to like water based events and so it makes you smile when they do take the plunge. Couple that with the fact it's a university sport then no surprise he took for ever to get in an Olympic boat, one borrowed from the Slovenian team. The crowd loved it and cheered him in. The International Olympic Committee operates a wildcard thing and so you do get these joke entrants, the guy like one of those chaps with all the banter in pub toilets. They allowed a San Marino chap into the archery and he nearly killed a spectator when the arrow stalled and ricocheted off the target frame and spun out of control through the air and glanced off an official.
The girls delivered in the rowing, Stanning and Glover romping home in their double skulls final, a brilliant gold and the first for the women in the Olympics and for team GB in this year's Games. The men's GB eights bravely blasted out for gold but just faded in the last 250m to take bronze, all or nothing almost paying off as the all conquering German team remained unbeaten. 40-year-old Chris Searle of the infamous bawling coach win of Barcelona 1992 was in the London bronze eight, twenty years after his podium in Spain.
Grainger and Watkins blew the rest away with a stunning gold in the women's double skulls (two oars each), Grainger bumping up her silver to gold, four games, four medals, retirement on hold. Both claim to have asthma, a diagnosed condition on the rise in elite athletes. It has gradually risen at almost every Olympic Games since the 1970s. At the Atlanta Games in 1996 some 20% of the US team declared problems with asthma and almost 21% of Team GB had asthma in 2004 tests, compared with 8% of the British population. Some say inhalers help you breathe faster and so more common with endurance athletes. Also, 17.3% of cyclists in Beijing 2008 were permitted to use inhaled agonists and won 28.9% of individual medals. And so far it is still not understood why.
Britain's George Nash and Will Satch snatched a bronze as Eric Murray and Hamish Bond underlined their tag as favorites with gold in the men's pair. Great Britain's Alan Campbell claimed bronze in the men's single sculls as New Zealand's Mahe Drysdale, collapsing at the finish in the arms of Steve Redgrave.
Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory beat arch-rivals Australia in sensational fashion to win Britain's fourth consecutive Olympic title in the coxless fours. In the very next race, Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland produced a stunning performance to win gold in the lightweight women's double scull; the look of surprise on their faces what the Olympics is really about. The fast food sponsors have tried to steal the games but you don't become a champion eating that junk.
Then the drama moved up a gear. Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, the lightweight men's double scull champions in 2008, were less than a hundred yards into the race when a seat broke. The rest of the boats stopped and after Purchase used a screwdriver to mend the seat, the race re-started. The boys went on to win silver with fourth place France (it had to be) protesting to try and steal a cheap bronze. If the seat wasn't busted and merely not secured proper they had a case. But the protest was thrown out and team GB had achieved their best regatta in Olympic history with nine medals and four gold's to top the medal table. China and America were no where to be seen. Sit down sports are our thing. The university system and lottery money means we have the right systems in place to find the right champions and the statistic that 50% of the Games gold's have been won by public school educated people can be justified here, privately educated kids 7% of the nation's population, the least likely lot to buy a lottery ticket to help fund their sports.
The Final Medal Table
1 Great Britain & N. Ireland ---- 9 medals
(Gold's 4 Silvers 3 Bronze 2)
2 New Zealand --- 5 medals
(Gold's 3 bronze 2)
Germany ----- 3 medals
(2 gold's 1 bronze)
Rowing was always one of my favourite sports to do simply because we also did it in the summer and outside in the nature. My grandfather had his own two person rowing boat and we went all the time. It's really a physical sport and an easy one to master too. Now a day I sadly don't row that much anymore but sometimes we still hire a rowing boat and go up on the lake but you can also do it inside.
Rowing is a sport and even an Olympic sport where teams compete against each other. You can row on your own but also with two, four and even eight people in one boat. It can be very competitive but most people row for fun or for a good workout.
The moment I stopped rowing was simply because my grandfather was too old to do so anymore and I decided to row at my gym. They have these workout machines where you do the same movement as you are rowing outside in a boat. It's a great workout as a warming up but also as a workout to train your muscles and up your fitness level.
When I was working out I used the rowing for both as warming up as a full workout. They always say to should do 15 minutes of biking or running before you start your workout well you can do rowing too or at the end of your workout. It's a great warming up because you use your whole body and it's a great cardio.
The rowing can also function as a total workout. At my gym they always offered classes in rowing where you would row with 20 people and a teacher on music. Believe me I was sweating and had muscle ace the next morning. Its very intension and you train a lot of different muscles group. You even train your abs and back by making sure you hold your right position. Can you imagine rowing on a song like 'Proud Mary', all nice and slow in the beginning and going crazy in the middle. Hard work I tell ya!
If you are looking for a good total workout where you improve your upper body and cardio and I really suggest you try rowing. It's quiet fun.
I am somewhat daunted in approaching this topic and perhaps even more daunted by the fact that I have to 'review' it after only starting the sport 4 months ago; given this however I think I am in a perfect position to talk about the draws of rowing to somebody who has never done it before, the difficulty in getting involved in the sport and the level of commitment one is expected to show.
Firstly, I live in Britain and go to Durham University, a university with a very healthy rowing tradition. Given this, I was surrounded by rowing and rowers and hearing talk of sculling and heads and regattas made me more than interested in giving it a go. Getting involved in rowing was, for me, very easy given that it is commonplace in my university. I am however aware of the difficulties of getting involved in the sport outside of uni.
If you are lucky to come from a country where the sport is popular then you have ample opportunity to get involved with a local rowing club, but these can be rather pricey, giving rise to the not entirely unjustified belief that it is dominated by the middle class. I come from Ireland where unfortunately the sport isn't a popular one; my nearest rowing club is 40 minutes away. It is also quite expensive at £300 for the year (although this pales in comparison to some places) and as such, university provides my only opportunity.
Rowing is a sport which requires peak physical fitness and as such I'm used to spending hours and hours in the gym each week. Given its dependency on good river conditions, rowing also asks people to be ready to get up early in the morning when perhaps you'd rather be in bed, but in the end it is rewarding.
Rowing is a team sport, and people row in 2s, 4s and 8s. When you throw coaches and coxes in there you can be talking about a group of 12 different people for you to work with. Because of the nature of rowing you quickly develop new friendships and a sense of teamwork arises from this. You can't suddenly drop out in the middle of the race or you risk ruining things for so many other people. You can't not show up to training because a boat can't go out with too few people. Rowing makes you dependent on others but at the same time they are made dependent on you. For each part of the sport that it is physical there are two which are mental and it is in developing a rowing mentality that you make the most of the sport.
Mental strength is also important when it comes to the physical side of things too. Rowing is both about strength AND endurance; sheer physical exertion for a prolonged period of time. Give this, you always have the feeling that you can improve on what you did before and as such rowing can easily take over your life. It is a sport in which you can always push yourself to go that little bit harder, and this is what makes it so enjoyable.
I am not sure that it is.
Let's look at the case for it being a proper sport:
1. You have to be fit and strong to do it.
2. It is included in the Olympic Games
3. There is a long tradition of it at Oxford and Cambridge universities.
4. In the coxed eights there is room for a little fella or lady at the front.
5. It is ecologically friendly.
6. It keeps the kids off of the mews and away from the Pimms.
And what about the case against?
1. It is one of the few sports that you can do sitting down.
2. The skill factor in it is close to zero.
3. It is elitist.
4. It is a boring spectator sport.
5. There are too many different classes of boats and crews thus devaluing it.
6. The quality of the boat is a factor.
So we have some of the arguments for and against. I am of the belief that it is not quite a proper sport. To make it more attractive and to make me more of a believer I would like to see just single skulls and eights in their different weight classes.
I actually feel sorry for some of the medalists at Beijing who have not had that much public recognition because of the ongoing legacy and continued success of the 4 man crew.
Rowing is a sport that a simple movement is repeated and athletes strive to attain perfection. In this manner is similar to running and swimming, but this sport enables individuals to make this repetitive movement in harmony with other like-minded individuals. It encompasses the best of individual sports and camaraderie of team sports.
Public opinion of rowing
Rowing is seen in many eyes as a sport for privileged individuals, coming from affluent public school backgrounds and/or attending the OxBridge university as an undergraduate. Alternatively, rowing maybe associated in the public eye with Steve Redgrave, 5 Olympic Gold medals and possibly the Oxford-Cambridge boat race.
On a personal note, I have to say this is closely related to my experience. I saw rowing for the first time when I was at Oxford University doing a PhD, I was dragged by friends (who rowed, whilst I was a rugby player) to watch the Sydney Olympic final in 2000. I watch as these large men (not looking much like muscular beast like I knew from the rugby field) perform this apparently effortless movement (I know from my experience the better you get, the less effort other people can see, but the more you are putting in), dominate the final at the Olympics holding off the Aussies in their home country. WOW. The next term I let my friend persuade me to try out for rowing.
This does not mean the OxBridge/public school link to rowing is all encompassing. In fact, I believe my experience is in the minority of the full rowing community, as there is a massive university based sport (especially in Durham, reading Bristol but also in every uni) but also an increasing number of people are taking this sport up instead of football during their teen years at local clubs. The is also a massive and vibrant community in London and generally in the Thames valley region (especially Henley) that trains for rowing almost obsessively.
As mentioned previously, rowing is done with other people in boats of 2, 4 and 8. In 'rowing' boats a person holds a single oar (know in rowing terms as a 'blade') in two hands, rather than an oar in each in 'sculling' (oar known as a scull in this discipline). Rowers therefore have to have a partner to counter the effect they have upon the boat, so one rower has a blade out on the left, whilst someone needs to counter that effect by having a blade on the right; the two people need to work together by taking a stroke at the same time to push the boat forward. All this whilst facing backwards... The more people in the boat, the faster it goes and hence 4's (normally) and 8's (always) require a person to steer the boat- the Cox who also acts a coach and motivator.
I am a 'bowside' (or in American terms which make more sense, a 'starboard-side', meaning the right hand side of the boat looking at it from the stern looking towards the bow) rower, as opposed to a stroke-side (portside, left hand side) rower. Confusion can arise as rowers are sitting in the boat facing the stern (hence bowside have blades going to left, strokeside right from rowers perspective).
The movement that each rower (with blade on either side) makes when the blade is in the water (whichever side the rower is on) needs to be very similar. The movement should sequentially use the legs, body and arms in concert to apply the most power without disturbing the boats forward movement when the blade has been taken out of the water at the appropriate time. The more in concert the rowers can be, the more effective the power application, but of course that physiological power of each athlete defines how much work each person can undertake.
Of course not all rowers take it this seriously (me for example), a large proportion of people row as a social experience, especially when a growing number of women are getting involved in rowing and this attracts the men's rowing crews. There is a whole range of standards of rowing and the organisers (ARA) have sorted out a range of different levels that crews can compete at according to their prior performance.
Fitness and food
Rowers work very hard on improving their fitness to levels that most people can really not comprehend. Maximal strength is important, however it cannot be a substitute for the ability to endure sustained aerobic training with marginally sub-maximal heart rates. Aerobic endurance is trained for over long periods (up to 2 hours) every day and the levels of fitness required take months/year to develop. The levels of training that rowers undertake produce considerable endorphins, the bodies natural pain-killer, a morphine like compound which athletes are reputed to possibly get addicted to.
Due to the extreme level of training of top-level rowers, they require a lot of food; really amazing amounts of calories just to maintain body weight. Some rowers need 6000 or 7000 calories (double/triple the normal required amount) just to maintain their weight and if they are trying to gain weight (presumably muscle) they would require more and would probably be required to take supplements to achieve this.
My theory is that you can eat whatever you want if u train hard enough, as you will burn the calories off. Well that's certainly not right, but I also find I yearn for carbohydrate rich foods (pasta, bread) rather than fatty chocolate or pork pies.
Upside of rowing
Getting outside in the fresh-air, seeing the river-side wildlife (especially the amazing birdlife around the bristish waterways) is an amazing experience . It honestly is beautiful and being out on the peaceful water early in the morning is my personal favourite (tho not for everyone). The stillness of the water surface and noises so relaxing and counterposes the hard work of the training.
Team-work, as mentioned above. Great way to make friends.
Ability to eat what you want and not put on weight, fantastic!
The amount of time you train for rowing is totally dependent upon the amount of time you have to spare, ranging from an occasional rower at the weekend to training 2 or 3 times a day, 6 (or even 7) days a week. You will most likely be able to find like-minded individuals who will be aiming to train a similar amount so you can buddy up with them for company.
Downside of rowing
This sort of sport just doesn't appeal to some people, even as a social experience; it is a repetitive action and hence some find it boring, if u don't live near a rowing club (and hence a river/lake) you will have to commute some distance, its hard work and if you are mal co-ordinated you will find it very hard to master this sport.
The time-commitment can appear large compared to other sports when you first start and to be honest, it probably is but its a different sort of sport than football and is a lot to do with fitness, which is useful in other sports but not so fundamentally essential. Fitting rowing into your life sometimes feels impossible, it certainly often does to me, but with some organisation it actually is not that hard. These organisational abilities are also useful in the rest of your life and you often (student certainly normally do) find that you have more spare time when rowing as you can more effectively organise the rest of your life.
The cost of equipment for rowing is quite high, as both the oars and boats are expensive. However, individuals do not buy boats, but rather the clubs do with money raised from membership fee's. The membership fee's tho can be a bit of a turnoff, being prob around £250 per year however beginners courses are often run for more like £50 so you can see if u like the rowing experience.
Rowers often have problems with blisters on their hands from the blade, in addition to lots of sweaty clothing and invariably tired/aching muscle.
Rowing is a strange sport, I would recommend trying it and persevering for at least a couple of months. People who try rowing, tend to like it .
You need to ask yourself this. Do you live near a river? Do you want to get fit? Do you want to meet loads of new people? If youe answers is yes for all of these questions then rowing is definatly the sport for you. Ok lets look at the first qustion. If you live near a river you a probably near a boat club. These clubs are very friendly and easy to join. Some clubs you can join for about £5 a year. I used to be abit of a porker when I was young. However as soon as I started rowing I suddenly lost loads of weight and became pretty strong. The final question. Rowing is probably one of the most socialable sports there is. Whenever a race is on it is a huge social event. This brings me on to my next topic, Racing. There are two types of racing, "Head Races" and "Regattas". A head race tends to be a longer race than a regatta. They range from 3000 to 7000 metres, any more than that would be rare. In these races you start one behind the other and are you timed. A Reggata is when you are side by side. These tend to be only 1000 or 2000 metres long and the most exciting. The amount of boats side by side depends on how wide the river ot lake is. I say lake beacause some races are held on huge man made rowing lakes. These tend to be 2000 metres long and are able to races about 6 or 8 crews at the same time. I know of one in Notingham and one near Slough. There are many diferent types of boat. There are sculling boats and rowing boats. Sculling is when you use two oars and rowing is when you use one. You can do either of these in boats for 2,4,8 people. In sculling you can use 1 man boats but for obvious reasons this wouldn;t work for rowing. What else can I say apart from go and join your local club.
An extremely high exuinotic Spring tide, a healthy supply of G&Ts sloshed by Britains elite,it can only be one thing down on the river,the bloody awful boat race. Expectant college types joined curious tourists as Oxbridges elite celebrated just that by racing two eights down the muddy green Thames. I think its time to have a knock out inter university competitions now that college has been demarcated to see who really are the countries best rowers. They did it with the football competition of the same ilk after Loughborugh had dominated it for so long. The following year it was Hackney College versus Lambeth technical college I seem to recall. I know todays competitors are of a very high standard with ringers to assure this prestigious victory, but how cool would it be to see eight black guys from Southall poly rowing down the poshos by ten lengths. Then we definitely couldn?t call it an anachronism too far. So picky are these two universities that you can only row if you have ruddy red middle class cheeks, an exceedingly home counties tongue and that annoying flick of fringe all posh kids have. Cambridge though decided to do a bit of publicity seeking with some totty as the cox, who knew how to stroke those lengths and a rich kid son of, who collapsed in the final run in. The weight of the lasses tits and the kids fathers wallet cost the light blues as they lost by half a boat length rowing into the wind. The BBC of course have this at the top of their sporting shopping list every year because most of them want the day off to cheer their ex Oxbridge college. Notable celebs like Stephen Fry and fellow comic strip legend Hug Laurie, who raced for Oxford have been quipping all week. Fry of course used to break wind for Cambridge before he joined the Footlights back in the seventies. Most of these boys are traditionally greased down with cooking oil and tapped with a cricket back as tradition demands.
The fastidious messing around at the start was very grating as the referee was obviously waiting for orders from the hospitality boats for the off. Apparently the drinks cabinets were getting joshed about a bit by the swell on the Jesus College tug as orders were bawled down the radio to delay .One must be comfortable before the red flag is dropped. The ref had a lot of hard work ahead of him as the boats were glued together from start to finish. From the sure he sounded like one of those Mullahs calling for prayer, or telling of the ladies for not wearing their Burkhas. Do we really care anymore about this pompous crap. The commentators did in Mathew Pinsett and the appropriately named Richard Balliol, which is of course the name of one of the Oxbridges most prestigious seats of learning. Anyhow Oxford knicked it as their shortest and weakest rower gave up after the female coach took the wrong turning reading the map. The even needed 500 police officers on overtime and 14 BBC cameras.It was the least watched syndicated BBC sports event and that network spent over two million on hospitality for this dated joust.
I've just read the majority of the articles in this category and it seems to be that very very few of them know what they are talking about. All of this category has been taken up by the hype surrounding Steven Redgrave and his coxless four at the Olypics in 2000 all of them completely purile . Sure enouh the man is a living legend and deserves to march proudly and smugly with his medals , and be knighted for being such a symbol of pride to the English Nation. But why do so few people address the sport itself. I will now attempt to try and describe this sport. Rowing is a fairly simple sport , if you go right down to the basic level , its just a bunch of men (or women) pulling sticks. But its so much more than that . There are two types of rowing , the conventional "sweep" rowing with one "oar" or "blade" as they are referred to (there are two types of blade called "spoons" and "cleavers" depending on their shape) and the more skillful second type called sculling in which you have two shorter blades and you can be in a boat by yourself if you want to . Boats are different shapes and sizes , you can have a scull (one seat) pair (two seats) , double (double scull) , four (coxed or coxless) , quad scull (coxed or coxless) and an eight which has to be coxed otherwise you end up going everywhere in the river. Octosculls do exist but they are far too expensive and unfeasible. Coxes are steerers of the boat and are usually migdets weighing less than 6 stone any more and they slow the boat down. All these technicalities may seem boring but the main thing about rowing is that its a social sport . Obviously there are races or "regattas" and "heads" but the main thing is that there is no viscious sportsmanship and everyone has a good time. The only thing that is bad about this sport is that its usually freezing in the river and after the first week of rowing , you will g
et countless amounts of incredibly painful blisters all over your hands . Persevere and you hands become like leather and you no longer fear pain. The beauty of rowing is that anyone can do it , its so ridiculously simple and from any age too. Small 7 year olds in sculls go up and down the river as do old age pensioners going for a relaxing row , reminiscing about the old days of school regattas. Myself , i enjoy it though i could be much better , technique is very important to the sport as is timing . Get both of them wrong and you could end up in the drink.
I aknowledge that Redgrave is a very accomplished rower, and that he thouroughly deserves all of his gold medals, but I personally don't think that he should have been allowed to compete in Sydney 2000. He understood well that his diabetes would be a limiting factor on his training capabilities, but still he chose to continue. Is it just me or was that quite selfish? His team mates were continually dragged down by his illness, and although he made every effort to keep up with their high standards, he only stayed in the crew to get his 5th gold medal. Is it worth the risk of his illness and the consequential withdrawl of the British rowing 4 from the event, purely because an old, ill man wants to cap off his career on a high note? I think not. He ran an unecesary risk for himself and his crew when he decided not to pull out. Instead of watching his career stop, we could be seeing now, the career of a young rower rising. In effect he prevented new talent from emerging. In my opinion, he is a talented but selfish man.
I took up Rowing four years ago at school as a way to meet people and get fit. Rowing is a great sport for people who enjoy testing their physical and mental toughness. To improve a great deal of dedication is needed, even if this means early starts on a winter's morning. You may wonder whats so great about rowing because it looks simple enough, but a lot of skill and practice is needed to develop a winning technique. I have met many people and am very fit through rowing, it is a great sport for all!
Steven Redgrave is yet another example how, if working class kids are given a chance at the rather snobby sports they will eventually rise and conquer like the Williams sisters in tennis or Mr. Botham in cricket. Rosey cheeked Mathew Pinsett like Henman in tennis was always going to be good at the sport chosen for him as it was all in place to start with.Redgrave not only over came the class system in the traditional sport of sculling but serious health problems to in his later years of gold success. In life there comes a moment where you step of the path fate has chosen for you and you become the person you were meant to be as is the case with our five times Olympic champion. It took a thoughtful teacher at his comprehensive to recognize Steve's winning spirit over talent and fortunately directed it towards rowing rather than football where the bravest end up as nobodies in the back four at Scunthorpe. I hope Mathew Pinsett does keep going and maybe make the big five ,but deep down you know he will walk away and stroll into a job in the city he was probably destined for the moment he was born. If only we could open up more middle class sports like tennis and rowing to the rest of the country encouraging a dramatic increase in Olympic medals like Australia did in the early 80s. The down side is that he's going to be on TV more than Carol Vordeman and eventually we will be not so in awe of him as her starts doing pantos with Frank Bruno and Anthea Turner. Go for number six Steve in the eights.
I have just finished watching the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year and thought I had to comment on the man- Steve Redgrave! Steve Redgrave deservedly won the award as the sports personality of the year, but in particular I would like to comment on the speech he made. In these money mad times in sport, sportspeople are usually only looking out for number one, themself. How refreshing it was to see this man, who could quite understandably bask in all the glory (after all he is the greatest Olympian of all time), take them time out to thank all those people who had helped in such a sincere manner. In particular the way he spoke about his great colleague Matt Pinsent. His words almost had Matt in tears (yes we could see those eyes glisten Matt!!). He took time out to thank all his coaches and his fellow oarsmen who helped him achieve so much. This man is indeed a great and whatever he decides to do with his life following his retirement I wish him all the luck in the world!!
Wading knee deep in the freezing cold River Cam - pushing a boat out into a flooded river... hmmm... not really my idea of fun. I have however, been pleasantly surprised by my attempts to row. Having tried it a few times, it does become addictive. It is a great way to keep fit and is quite exhilerating when the technique slots into place and you can really go for it. I row in an eight which is makes for a good social life as well - all those parties make getting up at 6.30am for an early outing seem worth it! It's hard work (I am aching from a regatta as I type) but well worth it.
Rowing has been seen as a boring sport for so long and has not had a large audience until the Atlanta Olympics where Steve Redgrave was going for a 4th gold medal. From then on rowing has been seen as more interesting sport, or has it? People have been interested in Steve Redgrave, not rowing!! Sure, he deserves it but with his retirement will we see a return to the past attitudes to rowing where few people outside of the sport are interested? Does anyone remember that the GB men's eight also won gold at Sydney? Do they even realise that Redgrave was in a coxless four, meaning there were 3 others in the boat with him? I recently raced at the Supersprints which was supposed to be televised. Except the BBC only showed the GB races and not the Schools, Universities or Elite events. There was actually more drama in the final in the schools event than in the Internationals. Full coverage might be on Sky Sports, if anyone watches it look out for me, i'll be the blond in the mens pair (Gloucester/Wycliffe College team) of the schools event which wins the relay.
So the games have drawn to a close, and for four years our heroes will train to the best of their abilities, and for the majority of us, we will not even give them a second thought untill 2004. Some will stay in our minds though, such as Steve redgrave, Mathew Pinsent, Tim Foster and James Craknell. Most of you will no doubt only recognise the one name here....STEVE. Steve has been training for this moment since he was 15. He has competed in world championships, and now five Olympics. At the age of 38, and with five Olympic Gold medals under his belt, the world keeps asking him... are you going to retire this time Steve? Steves strict training schedule has led him to be away from his family for 48 weeks of the year, training 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. His wife, with her young children, has pleaded with him to stop. She is reported to say, that it is her or rowing, shes had enough. Steve aslo suffers from Diabetes and a chronic bowel condition, and yet still puts his body through rigourous training. There is no doubt that his wife, and the rest of the world are proud of him, but what happens now? After the last Olympics in Atlanta, Steve was reported to have said "if I ever go anywhere near a boat again, someone shoot me" ....well...he did. He wanted to leave at the top, to be remembered as the best there was. I wish he would realise that he he will always be remembered that way. He is an inspiration to everyone. He has funded himself throughout his career. He came from humble begginings, the son of a builder, and through sheer strength, determination, talent, and no doubt alot of bloody mindedeness, he has gone to the top and beyond. I hope he heeds his wifes warnings, I would hate to see him, aged 42, with illness still racking his body, trying to keep up to the expectations that the world...and HE has put upon himself, and failing. Like so many talented people, they cannot let go, they cannot give
up the limelight, as it has become an addiction. Imagine how he must have felt after winning the coxless fours!!! Imagine the total elation, confidence, pride. The knowledge that all those years of training have paid off, you are a national and international hero. It must be hard to wave goodbye to that, and to be honest, I don't think he can. Below, I have cut and pasted a list of his entire achievments since his himble begginings. Olympic Games 1996 - Coxless pair - gold 1992 - Coxless pair - gold 1988 - Coxless pair - gold 1998 - Coxed pair - bronze 1984 - Coxed four - gold World Championships 1999 - Coxless four - gold 1998 - Coxless four - gold 1997 - Coxless four - gold 1995 - Coxless pair - gold 1994 - Coxless pair - gold 1993 - Coxless pair - gold 1991 - Coxless pair - gold 1990 - Coxless pair - bronze 1989 - Coxless pair - silver 1987 - Coxless pair - gold 1987 - Coxed pair - silver 1986 - Coxed pair - gold 1981 - Quadruple scull World Junior Rowing Championships 1980 - silver - Double scull 1979 - Single scull Commonwealth Games 1986 - gold - Single scull 1986 - gold - Coxless pair 1986 - gold - Coxed four FISA World Cup 1999 - Winner - Coxless four 1997 - Winner - Coxless four