I’ve been blogging and recording my thoughts on training, selection, travel, competition and the psychology behind elite rowing since 2007. I’ve begun incorporating photos and videos to complete the documentation, and to help make the sometimes-mysterious world of elite-level athletics more accessible to friends, family and other supporters.
Some of these entries are favorites because of the reaction they got from readers. Others are favorites because they remind me of really great times with the Team; others because they remind me of hard times I got through. Whatever the reason, if you’re new to my blog or new to the US Rowing Team, these are some of the entries that got me to where I am today.
The Olympics are the Olympics because they have been unafraid to take us back to our roots, and to celebrate the simplest aspects of what it means to be human. I think a departure from that is a departure from what the Olympics always have and should continue to stand for.
…We came home with Olympic bronze. We didn’t win Olympic gold. Nor did we win a second consecutive Olympic gold, or a seventh consecutive world or Olympic title. We weren’t Olympic champions in 2012. But this bronze medal means everything to me–because there probably isn’t anyone on the US team who has lost as many times as I have.
…With each year that I pass through the camp system I come back with more experience and a more focused set of expectations. The quad selection process is never exactly the same, but one thing never changes: my ass is on the line, in a big way.
…I am left with the difficult task of determining the intangible element that kept us off the pace of the other 7 boats that were faster than us. I’m not sure that I have it completely figured out, but what it has come down to for me in the end is leadership.
…I will always, with no exceptions–ever–choose training, eating, sleeping and recovery over you.
…All of this is sobering and bittersweet in that I am looking forward to the challenges of this year, but I also realize just how much I’m going to miss this when it’s all done and I’m on to the next stage. It has been quite a ride to get to today, and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be training in Princeton with the top female rowing athletes in the world for spots on the 2012 USA Olympic Team.
…I have never forgotten the overwhelming feeling of connection and togetherness I felt as a member of the 2008 Team in Beijing, nor the hope I felt that there is Good out there that people can focus on and celebrate as a global community if they choose to. I may never change the world, but I can continue to support the Olympic Movement, and I can keep hoping that those who come after me will choose to do the same.
We may not go on to play in the NBA, MLB, NFL or NHL for millions of dollars every year, but the “little guys” are the ones who are quiet, successful leaders who work thanklessly to represent ourselves and our school, even if “no one cares” but us. We will go on to be successful professionals, and to make up the majority of your Olympic Team every four years.
…Ellen and I were the only open weight women’s crew to come out of the USRowing Training Center with no medals. You would think it would be easy for me to be ecstatic about the resounding success of my teammates, but instead I’m just angry.
…But today, and always, rowing is a Sport. If nothing else it is one of the truest Sports, existing simply as a measure of greatness between opponents with very basic rules and strategy. It is why my Sport is one of just five to have been included in every single modern Olympics […] It is undeniably pure, and to be successful at it is glory at its very best.
…”Novices” was a term I hadn’t expected to hear in Princeton, and I certainly never expected to be directed at me or used in reference to my capabilities as a rower ever again. As far as I was concerned, novices were annoying eighteen year old women who erged in basketball shorts and traveled in packs, attempting to seduce the senior men.