Rowing in Rio: Coach Greene’s wrap-up

What can I tell you tonight that you haven’t seen on TV or online? This place is surreal and so different, but there’s an element of the Olympics that – for all the size and dorms and beverage coolers and medals and tv coverage and dynasties and flags – feels shockingly like a normal regatta. The docks have this nice felt-y cover, but the mud, rain & wind delays feel familiar. There are showers and bag checks on site, but the restrooms are portable. Rowers warm up seriously, hiding taut nerves. Coaches take deep breaths & hope for good execution. Families are wrapped in flags and can watch a jumbo-tron, but the crowd shows the depth of it’s knowledge by shouting for moves in the first 300m of the race. I’m not sure whether I’m jealous of their wild enthusiasm or wish they knew better. An older man behind me who sounds like he’s read one article shares how accomplished Gevvie Stone is before declaring her “so modest” based on her body language when receiving a medal. (Now, I don’t know Gevvie any more than that dude, but I’m just gonna throw out my theory here that nobody can get that fast in a 1x and become a Dr. without some serious belief in her own capabilities. Humility & gratitude, maybe, but modesty? Ummm…)  
We saw one of the greatest battle/ photo finishes that I could ever imagine in the M1x and another US W8+ gold. We also saw people busting themselves over B, C, and D final rankings and rightly celebrating hard-earned wins at each of those levels. We wondered if the WL2x enjoyed their fans swimming out to them or whether they would’ve preferred that moment to be theirs alone. We admired the German fans for their unflagging enthusiasm regardless of their crews’ final level or position in the pack. We pulled our enhanced packing tape splashguard off of a very nice Empacher, derigged, & walked it out into a container. We congratulated medalists and F finalists and everyone in between. We ached for those disappointed in their races or their results.  

And then we went to go see monkeys.

Rowing in Rio: One done and one to go

Meghan Musnicki ’05 races tomorrow in the women’s eight final.  Tune in for a GOLD medal performance. 

Emily Morley ’16 completed her Olympic debut finishing 30th in the W1x. She met several of her goals this regatta, the biggest was racing in the 6 boat E final!  She felt good about her race and her overall performance at the Olympics. While Emily was meeting with the press and her family after the race, Beth and I attended to the boat and loaded it the Empacher container. That’s a wrap. 

Rowing in Rio: Riding to the venue

Today was Emily’s last practice day. She races tomorrow, Friday August 11, at 8 AM EST. Literally 2000 meters out! We took it slow this morning, slept in and took the 11:40 shuttle to the course. Here is a picture look at our daily 1hour commute. 

This shot gives you an idea of how Rio 2016 is managing city traffic. Each day we have a police escort, the bus drives in the Olympic lanes, which are marked by the green line on the road. The lane to our left is the public bus lane and the lane to our right is the lane that the locals are left with. 


Even Brazil has Joe’s……..


Canals and villas……..


Elevated roads that wrap the coastal mountains ……..


City skyscrapers that surround the mountain Pedra da Gavea in Tijuci National Park………..


Vertical homes built into the mountain side……….


Quaint accommodations for tourists……….


Copacabana Beach……….


Crazy fans………


Skate park at Lagoa near the finish line of the Olympic race course …………..


Then we arrive and we walk in the gates to that familiar feel of a rowing regatta. 

Rowing in Rio: Leaving the bubble

With an early row and cancellations all complete by 8:30am on Wednesday we shifted gears.

Emily went with her family for the day to relax and rejuvenate. She went back to their rented apartment, ate, got warm, did some window shopping and went to Volleyball at Maracana. 

Beth and I opted for the 2hour walk to Copacabana beach and the Beach Volleyball venue.  The first part of our walk took us through the residential part of Leblon, one of the upscale neighborhoods.  


It had a charming beauty. All of the sidewalks are cobblestone, the vegetation very interesting and the people, well normal. It was a little weird getting back in the mainstream, we were tall again and  we stood out in our bright blue Bahamas matching track suits. But all the same, we weren’t alone, fans from other countries were on the streets and easy to spot. We ended up on a Main Street with lots of stores and street vendors. We eventually made it to the beach. 

We walked all the way to the end of the beach hoping to find the hiking trail that goes 250 meters up a really steep hill with rainforest vegetation. We didn’t find it, but we did walk into a photo shoot with Johnny Weir (ex USA figure skater) doing some color commentary for the Olympics. It was some kind of piece on fly fishing and they were commenting on the strong winds.


After that excitement, we were off to Beach Volleyball. We started in “our seats” which don’t really exist in Rio. I’ve been in the stands for three events now, opening ceremonies, rowing and beach volleyball. People get near their seats then just take what is available. 


After the first two games, and noticing all of the empty seats in the lower section we moved down to get a court side perspective. It was a good move!!!!

Rowing in Rio: More wind and cancellations 

Rowing certainly develops patience and the ability to readily change plans. We came to the course this morning early (4am wake-up) in order to make sure Emily got the best water to practice in. Well at 7am there were whitecaps at the starting line and after 6k of rowing the singles were sent in. Races were cancelled for the day and the practice area was cut down to 1000 meters. Boats were allowed back out, but with the weather predicted to get worse we moved forward with new plans for the afternoon. 

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