I still think it’s really cool that college teams used to represent the US at the Olympics. The most famous story is, of course, Washington at the 1936 Berlin games but did you know the college crews won trials in the eight and raced at the Olympics every quadrennial between 1920 and 1968? The only exception was 1964 when Vesper won and raced in Tokyo (where they won the last gold medal for the Americans until 2004).
A year ago this week was when the USA women won gold in Rio. If there’s anything to be taken away from watching this race it’s that patience and trust in the race plan really does pay off.
Fun fact, did you know that FISA is two years older than the IOC? It was founded in 1892 and the IOC was founded in 1894.
Watching Rob Gibson’s interview between 5:15 and 6:50ish is brutal.
This week’s video isn’t embeddable so you’ll have to click over to the Olympic channel to watch it. It’s a quick 5 minute interview with Pete Cipollone where he reflects on his two Olympic games and the USA’s “third time’s the charm” shot at getting a gold medal after falling short in 1996 and 2000.
Coxswains especially, there’s a lot for us to relate to in this video so I encourage you to check it out. If you take away one thing, make it be what he says about not changing the race plan – “don’t do anything stupid, don’t do anything you don’t have to do”. If you’re up on the field and something is clearly going right, keep doing whatever you’re doing. Solid words of wisdom as we gear up for the spring season.
25-30k kilojoules = 6000 – 7200 calories … a day.
Related: Fueling an Olympian
Someone should do one of these with coxswains (or lightweights). Same general idea, just a different approach.
Pretty interesting video on the breakdown of costs per athlete that raced in Rio. As a raw number $4.1 million doesn’t sound too bad either … until you realize GB’s funding totaled nearly $44 million (£32 million) and Canada’s was around $17 million.
Update: Better numbers for comparison – thanks Pete!
Coming from a mainstream magazine with no ties to rowing, this video is really well done. My favorite part is her subtly counting in the background from one to ten as the video nears the end. It’s a good strategy, especially when you’re on the erg, but the way it’s presented here is just really powerful and motivating.
There’s really nothing like being on the water early in the morning and seeing a pack of singles, usually led by Gevvie, storm into the basin. Kinda similar to how you know Harvard is nearby when you hear their distinctive freight train-like exhales at every finish, you know when Team Gevvie is on the water because it has the power to change the atmosphere of the basin in an instant. I can’t really put a finger on what exactly it is but it’s been incredible to witness over the last few years.
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.
Both Katelin and Tom Terhaar do a great job of explaining our role in a way that I’ve never really heard verbalized before. It’s always implied but never just said, which I think is what lends to the ambiguity some coxswains encounter when trying to figure out what exactly it is that they’re supposed to do. TIME did a great job on this though. The video’s only about five minutes long but it communicates a lot.