One of my favorite things about coaching at camps in the summer is the other coaches I get to work with. I’ve gotten to work with Michiel Bartman the last two years at the Sparks camps and this year I had the chance to hear him talk about his introduction to the sport and his experience at the Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens Olympics where he won gold and two silvers. TBH I’d tell people to come to Sparks just to hear this talk … it’s that captivating.
This week’s video is the final of the Atlanta Olympics when the Netherlands won the gold. I won’t spoil the whole talk he gave but here’s part of what he said about this race:
“When I rowed that race, that final, I don’t know anything of the first 1000 meters. I know that I heard the beep and I know just before 1000 meters when our coxswain said, when the Germans were a little bit ahead of us, ‘Germans are fading, we go now‘. That’s when I kind of like, woke up. In the last 1000 meters, I’m rowing in 3-seat, and it’s clear that we’re going to win … you start to hear the crowd, usually it’s just the people you row for, your parents and that’s about it, but here it was several thousand people in huge grandstands producing a lot of noise, which was totally foreign to me. So I already hear going into the last 500 meters the roars and then going into the last 250 meters, I think ‘we’re going to win’ and the next stroke I think ‘shut up, you’re not there yet’. And then we crossed the finish line … and you know, everything just comes together.”
Also, fun fact about Michiel – he was the stroke of the Dutch 8+ that raced Harvard in 2004. You’re probably familiar with the race.