Monday, January 3, 2011

Video of the Week: 'Pieces of Eight'

This week's video, which I discovered on LARC's Rowing Blog, is a short documentary film that tracks the training and racing of the New Zealand men's VIII that won back-to-back World Championships in 1982 and 1983, and entered into the preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as the favorite in the event. The documentary is split into six parts, and features some fantastic rowing footage, great background on Kiwi rowing that will be of interest in a year when Karapiro hosted the World Championships, and a wonderfully 1980s soundtrack. Much like the later film, 'A Fine Balance,' which tracked the US men's team during the lead-up to the 2000 Olympic Games (the US won three-straight World Titles in the VIII in 1997, 1998, and 1999), the team with the target on their backs endures some setbacks (some of them self-imposed) along the way. The athletes come from all walks of life, and the film goes a long way toward giving the modern rower a sense for a time "when men were of iron and boats were of wood." The video above is on YouTube, but you can also watch the film on the New Zealand production company's website at http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/pieces-of-eight-1984. Interestingly enough, this film showcases a great deal of the rowing at the very Olympics where current US men's Head Coach Tim McLaren took silver in the quad. Thanks to LA Rowing for spreading the word about this film!

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