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Posts Tagged ‘London 2012’

[Links to my Olympics photo albums!  Here, here, here, and here!   Enjoy and share!]

Christening our namesake: the new Yale Crew racing shell! (thanks to Meg Sullivan for the photo)

In early October, the seven Yale Olympians returned to New Haven for a Elis-in-London celebration. It was a glorious weekend—going to practice with the current Yale team, answering questions at a panel discussion at the Yale Law School, being honored at the Yale football game, reconnecting with Yale alum young and old at the Head of the Housatonic, dedicating new racing boats at Gilder Boathouse…  It was such an honor and a privilege to be welcomed back at Yale, and the entire event was the perfect way to add closure to the whole post-Olympics period. Now it’s time to pick myself up off the couch, dust off my 48-month calendar, and start looking forward to my next steps.

Rowing with the Yale varsity– a good reminder that before we were Olympians, we were just wide-eyed college freshmen, learning how to row on the Housatonic.

The Olympics were surreal, exciting, and absolutely magical—a never-ending adrenaline rush! It’s as if your birthday, Christmas, college spring break, the Super Bowl, NCAA March Madness, and a family reunion all fell in the same two-week period. You’re surrounded by celebrities, and you receive VIP treatment wherever you go. There’s an open bar, a famous chef in the kitchen, and children asking for your autograph outside the Village gates. You have front-row seats and a backstage pass to the hottest show in town. We didn’t have enough suitcases to take home all the free swag that sponsors were throwing at you.  For two surreal, exhilarating weeks, you ARE a superstar.

And then, just as quickly as it began, the Olympics ended… the smoke of the fireworks from the Closing Ceremonies had barely cleared away, and already volunteers were already starting to close up the facilities, take down the signs, and ship the athletes on their pre-dawn shuttles back to Heathrow International Airport.

Taylor and I enjoying the Closing Ceremonies with Lolo Jones (an incredible athlete, and one of the nicest, most sincere woman I’ve ever met)

The team receives so much mental preparation in the lead-up to the Olympics—how to cope with the pressure, the ever-present media, the distractions of the Village, the intensity of competition. But no one can prepare you for the emotional roller-coaster as you transition back into ordinary life.

I’m taking a short break from the Princeton Training Center in order to pursue my education—a doctorate in physical therapy at Eastern Washington University. But training at home leads to a myriad of challenges: after the excitement of London, how do I motivate myself for that lonely gym session? How do I keep myself accountable for that 6am workout if my pair partner is 3000 miles away? How do I balance the pressures of training, work, school, and family when I don’t have a coach and a team manager to establish a daily schedule for us? It’s definitely a struggle, and I’m still figuring it out!

Back in Washington! After enjoying my first true summer vacation in years, it’s now time to get back to work.

For this fall, I’m focusing on health—I still need to resolve the lingering injuries from the January car accident, and try to maintain fitness while not flunking out of school (first Clinical Anatomy exam this morning! Eek!). But come winter, it’s time to start rebuilding up my calluses! If I’ve learned anything in the last two months, it’s this: you gotta use it, or lose it; I’ve rowed almost everyday for seven years, and it still only took eight weeks of cross-training to leave my hands as smooth as a baby’s bottom. !!!

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Sorry for the much-belated blog post… I’ve done a much better job at updating my facebook albums!  Please check them out (and share!) for a behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic life.

Let The Games Begin: our final week of training before Olympic racing begins
US Rowing at the Olympics: racing for gold! and out and about in London with the Redman posse
A quick photo tour of the Main Village Dining Hall
A Photo Tour of the Olympic Village:
Time to Enjoy the Olympics!: front-row tickets, VIP lounges, rubbing shoulders with celebrities… life is sweet for Olympians!  I’ll be adding photos everyday or so, so keep checking back!

Watching my teammates launch for the Olympic Final

This week has been the complete emotional rollercoaster… watching my teammates race for gold in their Olympic Finals was one of the most inspiring moments of my life. I’m so so so happy for their success, and I’m honored that I had a role to play in helping them achieve their Olympic dreams.  It was a total affirmation for me to see the American women perform so well  (6th in W2x, a close 4th in W2-, bronze in W4x, gold in W8+)– it is a small comfort to know that I didn’t lose my spot in the boat to mere mortals, but OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS.  I am so so so proud of them, and proud to be called their teammate.

The best cheerleaders a girl could ever hope for

Now that racing is over, we’ve moved into the main Olympic Village in London (we were previously located in the satellite Rowing Village, about an hour away).  As is evident by this much-belated blog post, life is a complete whirlwind. So much to do, so much to see, so many people to meet, and SO LITTLE TIME TO DO IT ALL!  I’ve sadly neglected my email inbox, I haven’t even unpacked my suitcase, I barely have time to sleep or shower… there is just *that many* amazing opportunities!  Paradise on earth!  (Don’t even get me started on the dining options)

Look who we ran into on the bus ride back from the gymnastics arena! Pictured: The Fab 5 (!), Anthony and Robin (LM4-), and Ty (reserve pair)

For example: several nights ago, I was faced with a tough decision. Do I go to the Team USA hospitality house (delicious buffet, open bar, fun scene) where the US Swim Team (Lochte and Co.)  was having a reception? Or do I get a free ticket (front row balcony) to gymnastics finals?  Or last night: do I go to an exclusive party thrown by Coca Cola for their corporate execs? Or do I stay in, and watch track and field finals with other athletes in the US Athlete Lounge?  Does this decision change when I realize that the other athletes are the men’s 4x100m relay team and Serena Williams?  (On the outside: a super-chill rower, just playing it cool and chillin’ with her fellow American athletes. On the inside: “AAAAHHHHH!!!”)

Track and Field: capacity crowd, great seats, amazing competition… my ears are still ringing from the deafening cheers

This experience  has been completely surreal. I am so so so blessed and excited to be here. THANK YOU for all the support and encouragement!

Inspiration for Rio? (a big thank you to Esther for loaning me her medal)

Hurray for Spokane Olympians!!!! (Amanda Furrer, Mead HS, 50m rifle)

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**For more behind-the-scenes photos, be sure to check out my facebook albums! I’m adding new pictures every afternoon or so!  Album #1  and Album #2

The Olympic Torch!

The Olympics are *almost* here: t-minus twenty-four hours! All fifty-eight countries have arrived at the race course, ranging from the lone single scullers from Ireland, Algeria, or Cameroon, to the full squads from Canada, Great Britain, or Germany. Everyone tries to be courteous and professional while on the race course, but there are still some close calls!  (For example: in our effort not to get run down by the Italian men’s double, we nearly stampeded the Iranian women’s single. But no harm done, we all emerged unscathed!)

58 countries, 500 athletes, and one goal: GOLD!

It’s been exciting to see the transformation of the venue into a race-ready Olympic stadium. Yesterday was the “dress rehearsal” for the hundreds of volunteers, timers, stake-boat holders, announcers, and safety launches… it was fun to watch the teenaged volunteers stage a mock medals ceremony, complete with the inspirational music (from “Chariots of Fire”), honor guard, and national anthems. The starting-line officials were also also rehearsing yesterday, so everyone had the chance to practice a mock “start”, complete with the boat-holders, the official countdown, the lighting system, and the “boot” (a little plastic starting gate that holds our bowball—very cool!). The best part about the start simulations was that the officials didn’t discriminate between boat classes, so we were able to race it up with the Canadian M8+, British M4x, and an assortment of doubles/fours. Fun!

A morning practice at Eton Dorney (photo by http://www.row2k.com)

Amanda and I have been busy—even though we’re not officially listed in a boat roster, we still have to be fit and able to race should our team need us. So we’ve been putting in some mileage in a pair, sometimes by ourselves, sometimes pacing our official US pair, occasionally hopping in the eight when someone needs an afternoon off.

Brrr! Team USA’s ice baths

USA has garbage bins, New Zealand has a kiddie pool… tomato, tomahto; if it holds freezing water, it’ll work!

Now that racing is around the corner, the Village is bustling with athletes. I first noticed it a few days ago in the dining hall… the evening before, Team USA was King of the Cafeteria—no lines for hot food, plenty of extra dessert, our pick of which table to sit at. The next morning, it was a completely different story! Hundreds of athletes scampering around for their pre-practice breakfast, waiting for the harried catering staff to refill the coffee/ oatmeal/ cornflakes/ bananas, trying to find an empty seat near one of their teammates. The zoo atmosphere only lasted until 6:55am, when the dining hall abruptly emptied as everyone left to catch the 7am bus to the race course (only to repeat itself in the twenty minutes prior to the 8am bus!). Thankfully, everyone has quickly adapted to the increased traffic in the cafeteria, and both the athletes and dining hall staff are working together to keep the chaos to a minimum!  *More details to come about the Olympic dining experience, a culinary blog update coming soon!*

An example of some AWESOME rowing shirts– Team Ukraine wins for “most colorful”!

One interesting distraction is the colorful and patriotic Olympic apparel worn around the boatyards. A popular favorite is the colorful print on the Ukrainian coaches’ outfits. The British uniforms (designed by Stella McCartney!) are chic, but can’t compare with the fashion-forwardness of the Portuguese double’s green berets! Also interesting—despite the warm temperatures (hottest day so far this year in the UK!), the Egyptian W2x still train in head scarves and long sleeves.

The Portuguese 2x: super stylish! (photo by row2k.com)

The Egyptian W2x (photo by row2k.com)

The Opening Ceremonies are tonight (wow!, where has the time gone?!), and as much as I’d LOVE to be in the Olympic Stadium to enjoy the festivities, Team USA is headed to bed early… racing starts tomorrow!!!  (You can see the heat draw here)

Go USA!

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