Friday, August 3, 2012
RR Olympics Blog: Quick Hits and Impressions from Eton Dorney
Apologies to RR readers, as I have been so busy putting together content for RowingNews.com, the RN eNewsletter, and the next Rowing News mag that I'm afraid I've been a bit remiss here! Much to report -- here are a few quick hits and impressions from the past few days at Dorney Lake:
-The volunteers and London 2012 folks around the course have been fantastic, as have the military on hand for security. To a man (or woman), they have been courteous and cheerful, and the greeters in elevated chairs at the gates have been throwing around some top-notch banter as well. A big thank you from a rowing journo!
-The course itself as an Olympic venue is outstanding -- great views of the racing from the grandstands, the two 'jumbo trons' combined with the fantastic overhead camera, and the attendance (there have been 25,000+ spectators there each day) have combined to make for one hell of an Olympic experience! Also, the dulcet tones of FISA's Robert Treharne Jones have provided an appropriate level of insight and explanation for rowing fanatics and non-rowers alike. This being my first trip to the Olympics, I'm a bit worried -- it will be a tough one to top from the rowing perspective!
-Following her race, and the medal ceremony, Megan Kalmoe was kind enough to show me her bronze medal -- it's a beautiful, weighty thing, befitting the Games it represents (thanks again Megan!). Also, glad to see her and the rest of the USA women's quad getting a chance to wear their 'podium' jackets, even it if was about 90 degrees and sunny (for the non-U.S. audience, that's roughly 32 degrees Celsius). And, while we're talking about the women's quad, there has been a lot of chat about how Helen Glover only began rowing in 2008 (in fact, that was the basis of my interview on BBC Radio 5 Live) -- let us not forget that Kara Kohler (now an Olympic bronze medalist) only started in 2009, and learned how to scull roughly 14 months ago.
-Having gone through the FISA online results database, the men's eight final at Eton Dorney this week was the closest six-boat Olympic final ever in that event, from top to bottom. Only 3.12 seconds separated the sixth place Australians from Germany as they crossed the line on Wednesday. The closest top to bottom before this year looks to be the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, when there was a spread of 3.2 seconds in a four boat final.
I've included a photo gallery from around London and Windsor -- more to come!