Worlds 2011 Blog: A Learning Experience

Inside the FISA Press Centre
Worlds are rolling, and it has been a great learning experience so far, not only from the standpoint of the rowing itself (certainly educational to see all the best athletes in our sport gathered in one place, all with the Olympics on the line), but also from the standpoint of writing and journalism. I've had the chance to meet and speak with a number of the top athletes in world rowing at this point, and I've been generally impressed by their open and friendly attitude -- I suppose it's something that ought to link everyone in the rowing community, as rowing is outside the mainstream, and not subjected to the same scrutiny that professional sports are. Still, conducting interviews isn't always the easiest thing, especially early in the week, as athletes are very concerned about qualification, and unwilling to be as candid as they might otherwise be, in most cases, because of it. And that, of course, is perfectly understandable. Ultimately, it's all about the racing.

For today, I've switched tacks a little bit. There's a ton of tension at the course right now, with the semis and finals looming, not to mention the ongoing reps. For this reason, I checked in with Rob Williams and Moe Sbihi of Team GB regarding Mark Hunter's enormous DVD collection, what they're up to during all the hours (and days) of down time here at the course, and what it's going to take for me to convert Moe into a San Francisco Giants fan. Obviously, we're in a beautiful place, but there is only so much you can do to enjoy it when you are supposed to stay off your feet as much as possible unless they are connected to the footstretchers. I also asked Canadian coach Mike Spracklen about his thoughts on the progress that his boats have made since Lucerne, including the moves of Malcolm Howard back into the eight, and Will Crothers up to stroke.

From a personal standpoint -- what can I say? I've been enjoying every minute of it. It's a new format for coverage, and we're tweaking it all the time, so if there is something in addition to what we are doing that RR and IRN readers want to see, just let me know. Another personal note: the people of Slovenia have been extremely accommodating, and the town has done everything possible to make the event an easy one for both the athletes and the journos. The amount of English fluency is impressive (I'm still working on Slovene), and there is a general sense of welcome.

There are a few challenges left, and I'm not talking about the ones facing the athletes. For example, I'm kicking around the idea of swimming out to the island (the most common way to reach it) -- though as someone who has to think back to lessons learned from GI Joe ('knowing is half the battle!') to reference how to tread water, it may be more of a journey that I ought to make. Fortunately, there are more than a few very quick boats out here, should I need to be rescued...

More upcoming in the daily Worlds coverage on

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