Showing posts from July, 2012

RR Olympics Blog: Aussie, GB Crews Putting on a Clinic on Day Three at Dorney

The weather has held up (for the most part) at Eton Dorney over the first three days of racing, with the wind pushing crews down the course in record time–taking nothing away from the rowers, of course. There is a ton of chat about the GB men's four and women's double over here, as you might imagine–today's events certainly didn't take away from the excitement, as the Australian women's double, featuring arguably the best overall athlete on the women's side at the Olympic Regatta, Kim Crow , won their heat, just after Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins stormed down the course to victory in 6:44. This was followed by the Australian men's four, built around three-time Olympic gold medalist Drew Ginn , looking absolutely outstanding in the first heat of three heats, winning in another Olympic Best Time of 5:47 despite leading by open water seemingly from 250m into the race. The GB crew then took center stage, with three of the four that won gold in B

Video of the Week: Kiwis Calm, Cool and Collected (and Funny) in London

There's no disputing that the Kiwi national rowing team is fast–in fact, Rowing New Zealand is the top squad in the world in terms of medals per capita. However, despite their clear dedication, intense training, and aggressive approach on the water, they also know how to relax, have fun, and keep from taking everything too seriously. The above video show just that, and was published just hours after Hamish Bond and Eric Murray destroyed the previous world best time in the men's pair by six seconds . Though the women's quad suffered a devastating setback in the final strokes of their repechage earlier today, snapping a blade after having comeback from sixth into third (and into qualifying position), the rest of the Kiwi team have posted solid performances, and looks on pace for another great year. More updates to follow from London in the next RR Olympics Blog, and, in the meantime, take a look at the Sunday and Monday race reports posted to -RR

RR Olympics Blog: Rowing Kicks off at Eton Dorney

Trip to the course:  The first day of the 2012 Olympic Regatta was one for the ages -- quite a show that these athletes put on and a fantastic way to kick off the racing at the Games. Getting to the course was quite an adventure this morning -- hop on the train at 6:52am, change trains, arrive at Windsor and Eton Riverside, queue for a double-decker bus in front of Windsor Castle, arrive at the temporary bus terminal (field), walk roughly one mile, queue to enter the venue, walk another mile, arrive at the entrance to the race course, and, finally, walk however many meters up the course it is to your seat/office arrangement. Certainly pays to bring comfortable shoes. (Photo gallery included above from the trip to the course.) Olympic racing begins: The weather was ideal today and the times reflected that -- four new Olympic best times, one of which was also a new world's best time (the incredible Kiwi pair's 6:08 performance). While this boat is undoubtedly the favori

RR Op-Ed: On the Line in London–Can Anyone Beat 'Ze Germans?'

The German men's eight has been nothing short of dominant for the past four years–controlled, smooth, and efficient, the crew has set the standard for speed since Beijing. That winning streak will see its greatest challenge at Eton-Dorney this week and the next, as the DRV (Deutscher Ruderverband) look to put an exclamation point on an outstanding quadrennium. Can anyone beat them? If anyone's going to do it, then the challenger will have to match the speed of the German eight in the second 500m. Obviously, the Germans know how to get off the line–they've gone wire-to-wire a number of times over the past four years en route to victory, often posting times faster than 1:20 in the first 500m. But, looking over the data from the past three seasons, as well as the World Rowing Cups this year, it's more often the second 500m where they stake their claim and build their margin over the field. The fact is, everyone has a slower second 500m than first 500m, but the differen

RR Olympics Blog: Travel and Arrival in London

After a hectic 24 hours, I've arrived safely in London and have set up in Barnes, where I'll be staying for the duration of the trip (which will mean heading out to Eton on the train each day for the rowing events at Dorney Lake). It's fantastic being back in town–having lived in London from 2007-2008, this is a chance to visit friends and old haunts, as well as experience something entirely new. There is evidence of the Games throughout the city, as you might expect, with many of the main streets decorated with banners, sidewalk (pavement) art, and shop owners doing all they can (given the strict enforcement of the London 2012 trademark/branding from LOCOG) to celebrate the Olympics with window displays and posters. Of note: Heathrow wasn't crowded when I arrived–not even a long queue for customs–and the number of London 2012 employees on hand was impressive. The trip into town went much more smoothly than it might have had I been on an official Olympics bus –rea

Video of the Week: The French Men's Quad Trains for London – Stage Terminal

This week's video comes to us from France, showcasing the French men's quadruple sculls (Adrien Hardy, Pierre-Jean Peltier, Matthieu Androdias, and Benjamin Chabanet) as these athletes enter the final stages of training for the Games in London. Not only are there some very nice shots of sculling, the video is accompanied by the Ride of the Valkyries (at least to start), and features a quick look at three seat Pierre-Jean Peltier's basketball skills (at roughly 0:48). Then, we get right down to business–with one switch from last season's C Final-winning combination, this crew appears to have found some speed this year, having taken fourth at the first World Rowing Cup in Belgrade, and having edged out the Czech Republic (by roughly one tenth of a second) for second place behind Estonia at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. The crew stumbled a little at the Munich World Cup stop, placing 11th overall, but will look to better that result and continue the momentum

Video: Training on the Olympic Course at Eton, with Silas Stafford and Tom Peszek

Much of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team is now on the scene in London, and training on the Olympic course at Eton. Conditions have been a solid introduction to the course, with some wind, chop, clouds and rain–some of which is evident in the above video. Shot during a session on Dorney Lake, the video shows bow seat Tom Peszek's view of the course, and stroke (and RR interviewee) Silas Stafford , as the duo rows from the finish up to the start line, with a few drills along the way, and a brief glimpse of the U.S. women's eight in the starting queue. Racing is now just over a week away, with the heats for the women's pair, women's quad, men's eight, men's double, men's lightweight four, men's quad, men's pair, and men's and women's single (in that order) set for Saturday, July 28th, 2012. For a complete schedule, please follow this link to , and check out more videos from Tom Peszek on his YouTube Channel . Looking forward

Top Places to Visit in London, with Pete Reed of the GB Men's Four

Trafalgar Square, London (Photo: B. Kitch) Last week, we caught up with former Cambridge Blue and U.S. men's pair stroke, Silas Stafford, about his favorite London haunts, and, this week, we've asked defending Olympic champion Pete Reed of Team GB to share his thoughts on the matter. It looks like the Stafford and Reed agree in several cases! Here are Pete's thoughts on the top places to visit in London, in no particular order: 1) La Trompette , Devonshire Road in Chiswick, W4 I can only afford to go there once or twice a year, but I've never had a single course there which is anything less than perfect. This is my favourite restaurant by a considerable margin. 2) Trafalgar Square With Lord Nelson's immortal monument [see photo above] commanding the whole West End and as a Royal Naval Officer, this is a place of personal significance to me as well as a beautiful square in the city's cultural epicentre. 3) Knightsbridge From the world fam

USRowing Releases Roster for 2012 Senior and Junior Worlds

USRowing released the official roster for 2012 Senior and Junior Worlds this morning, and on the list are a number of very familiar faces. The senior team includes last year's fourth place finisher in the lightweight men's single, Andrew Campbell , who will be gunning for the podium in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, as will Beijing Olympian  Will Daly (racing in the men's pair along with Notre Dame grad, two-time C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints champ, and RR interviewee Greg Flood ), following the duo's near miss in the LM2x at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. Flood, who made the final eight competing for selection in the LM4- this year, will be appearing at his first senior worlds–likely with many more to come. The men's pair with coxswain includes Justin Stangel , who took ninth overall in the men's pair last year at worlds along with former partner Tom Peszek (now slotted to race in London with Silas Stafford as the USA M2-), and former junior national champion with P

Video of the Week: Training in the Lightweight Pair with Adam Freeman-Pask

This week's video comes to us from Adam Freeman-Pask of Team GB, and showcases some very fine pairs rowing along with some chilled out tunes, reminiscent of a Drew Ginn production. Freeman-Pask (shown in the video above training with Chris Boddy ) has consistently placed himself in contention for international medals in both sculling and sweep events over the past several years. 2012 has been Freeman-Pasks most successful year to date, with three straight World Rowing Cup victories (though in an unconventional way–after winning the LM2- in Belgrade with new partner former world champ in the LM4- Paul Mattick , Freeman-Pask won the LM1x in Lucerne, and then finished off the World Cup season in Munich with another win in the LM2-, again with Mattick). At 27 years of age, Freeman-Pask has a lot of strokes yet to take, and will likely be one of the rising stars in the GB lightweight men's squad as Team GB prepares for Rio. Check out more videos from Adam Freeman-Pask (includi

Top Places to Visit in London, with Silas Stafford of the U.S. Men's Pair

Oysters at Borough Market (Photo: B. Kitch) Silas Stafford , who recently punched his ticket to London in the men's pair at Olympic Trials along with partner Tom Peszek , knows a bit more about 'Blighty' than your average American. From 2008-2009, Stafford attended The University of Cambridge, and stroked the CUBC Blue Boat in the 2009 Boat Race. While most of his time in the United Kingdom was taking up with rowing and studying in Cambridge, Stafford came to know London as well, and will be looking forward to visiting old haunts following the racing on Dorney Lake. Here are Stafford's top picks for places to visit in London, in no particular order: 1. Historical Pubs The George Inn  in Southwark [near to Borough Market–see below], and  The Blackfriar  [in, where else, Blackfriars] come to mind as my favorites. 2.  Westminster Abbey Lots of famous people buried here. Go for evensong service for free admission and beautiful English choral music. 3.  Tate Mode

Olympic Banter Looking Up: Rowing Journal is 'Phelan Funny'

One of the 'modified' versions via @RowingJournal With the Games just 16 days away, the excitement is building, and so is the banter. We're aware that Iain Weir of Rowing Journal knows a thing or two about photography, but the mastery of Photoshop on display in this post , lampooning the recent photo series from The Guardian (UK), is, well, breathtaking. The original, which is part of a series entitled, ' Olympic Bodies: British Athletes - in pictures ,' is posted to The Guardian's website, and features GB oarsman Mohamed Sbihi alongside coxswain Phelan (for the U.S. audience, that's pronounced 'feelan') Hill , in what might be called a study in contrast–sitting in the five seat of the GB men's eight, Sbihi is one of the tallest athletes in the squad, and weighs in at 104kg, while Hill maintains the minimum weight for a coxswain at 55kg. Many of the athletes that will make up Team USA at the Games were gearing up to depart for Europe tod

Video of the Week: Olympics Now 18 Days Away – Leave Your Legacy

#leaveyourlegacy from Hooded Trees on Vimeo . The 2012 Olympic Games are now just over 18 days away, and the above video, which comes to us from Stanford University, gets at just what it means strive, unrelentingly, for greatness. The message, delivered by Ray Lewis to the Stanford men's basketball team prior to a game last season, applies not only to sport, but to life, and the video makes that clear. Add to this some footage of the Stanford men's rowing team training on San Francisco Bay, and you've got a winner for RR 'Video of the Week,' as we build toward London. It's a video that should be watched more than once–like the athletes and artists showcased in the piece, the creators of this short film understand that moments of pure joy; excellence; greatness; do not arise out of nothing, but are instead the beautiful results of countless hours of wholly dedicated time, and effort. These moments, then, transcend their specific contexts and tap into some

Two Oarsome Australians: FISA Interviews Kim Crow and Drew Ginn

The Australian national rowing team is perhaps stronger than ever, with competitive crews across the board, boasting some of the most impressive individual talent anywhere in the world. Kim Crow is among those, having medaled at the world level as both a sweep rower and sculler, and having shown this summer that she is a force to be reckoned with not only double (following a silver medal in Bled last year, and another at the Munich World Rowing Cup stop last month along with partner Brooke Pratley ), but also the single–incredibly, just days after winning the women's single at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Crow went on to take a silver medal at the Lucerne World Cup behind only perennial contender Xiuyun Zhang of China, and ahead of 2011 world champion Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic. Drew Ginn and his new-look 'Oarsome Foursome' are looking like they could provide some serious fireworks in London this summer, having gotten the racing se

The Voice of Henley Royal Regatta: Behind the Scenes at Regatta Radio with Rebecca Caroe

Regatta Radio co-founder George Thomas presenting (Photo: R. Caroe) For many out-of-town and overseas Henley Royal Regatta supporters, Regatta Radio provides a window unlike any other into the event, taking pains to be as thorough and knowledgeable as possible while keeping the tone light and the banter flowing. Interviews have also become an important part of this particular RR's broadcast schedule, and included a conversation with Harvard head coach Harry Parker this year (just prior to his heavyweight varsity eight's victory in the Ladies' Plate over Leander, by a margin of 1 foot). Here, 's Rebecca Caroe gives us an inside look at the history and running of Regatta Radio: Regatta Radio is now a fixture at Henley–it’s the only temporary radio station dedicated to rowing for 10 days a year. Broadcasting from a shack behind the famous Leander club, the outfit is now an established part of the Royal Regatta. Martin Unsworth (Photo: R. Caroe

Video of the Week: Nick Trojan and Austin Meyer Train for U23 Worlds in the LM2x

Plain and simple, these guys are good. Technique, power application, rhythm–the new-look duo of Harvard's Austin Meyer and former Carlos Dinares disciple (and RR interviewee )  Nick Trojan , is looking strong with racing in Trakai, Lithuania coming up next week. The video, shot on the Charles in Boston, includes some footage at race cadence in addition to steady state, and shows both possible lineups, with Trojan stroking at times, Meyer at others. The World Rowing U23 Championships are scheduled to run July 11-15, and we'll e keeping our eye on this entry–along with Andrew Campbell , these two form part of a core group of young U.S. lightweights that has the potential to change the way the world thinks about U.S. lightweight rowing and sculling by the time Rio rolls around. There's no room for big heads in lightweight racing, however, and these guys know there's a long way, and a lot of hard work, between now and 2016, with Lithuania first on the list. Want to su