Tuesday, 5 August 2008
This is my final wednesday of this Olympiad. Next Saturday we race in the opening heats of the 2008 Olympics.
Sometimes this really scares me to be honest. The whole of this year I've been training on a secluded lake in a normal, average, British town called Caversham in the suburbs of Reading. No one in Caversham probably knows we're there to be honest. There's a couple more lakes surrounding us, two giant Gas storage drums loom over one end of the lake and a gravel quarry continuously dredges up dirt behind the boat house. It's not the most luxorious surroundings. The thought of the Olympics couldn't be further away from me.
So now I'm in Beijing sitting in a 5 star hotel 500m away from the Olympic course. There's security guards at the gates to the hotel, at the doors to the hotel, at the doors to our accomodation and also some guards wandering around inside our accomodation for good measure. The course is 10 lanes wide as you can see, 4 lanes more than we need, not to mention the warm up lake. The boat house is enourmous with 26 bays for all the countries to put there boats in. The grandstands seem to stretch all down the course and the volunteers working on the course would outnumber the population of Switzerland. It's a little step up from home.
The main difference though is the fact that this is finally a reality. What I set out to do at the beginning of this year and what I committed to when I joined the GB rowing team has now finally come to it's climax and my crew and I have to go out and fullfill our part of the deal. It's like so many other aspects of life where we put something at risk and not knowing whether we benefit or not. It's like setting up your own business after leaving your job, sitting your A levels at school, putting money on a horse race or passing your driving test. Everyone knows that dread of anticipation when there's something dear at stake and the judgement time finally comes upon you when you find out whether you succeed or not. In 10 days I found out.