Gearóid Towey writing in the Irish Times blog, Village Voice. He reflects on making weight as a crew and how alluring the Olympic Village dining hall is.
Primed and ready for battle
The Beijing ‘Olympic Machine’ is well oiled and moving along at a steady pace. So far, everything is glitch free and the volunteers are still smiling – I’m beginning to wonder if they have some sort of “happy chip” implanted for the duration of the Games or whether they are genuinely happy to be slaving away here!Nonetheless, they are enabling us to go about our business without worry, which should be the aim of any sports event organiser.
The dining hall is the most exciting place in the village. As I mentioned before, it caters for everyone’s needs and tastes. There is even a free McDonalds here, not that we have eaten there.
As lightweight rowers, we have to be an average of 70kgs (11.1st) in the boat. To give you an idea, as a normal civilian, I sit at 79kgs. In order to make 70kgs we watch our diet like hawks, taking fat (and fun!) out of our diet.
We lose the last kilo or so through sweating on the morning of the race, like boxers or jockeys. It is a unique phenomenon in power endurance sports like rowing. So the dining hall here, while impressive, is a sort of hell for us as we bypass the nice stuff and stick to the tried-and-tested rice, pasta etc . . .
When we are finished our event however, a good 24 hours will be put aside for “dining hall time” when we will seek out the unhealthiest food we can find and eat a much of it as we can get!!
The heat and humidity beast who was with us when we first arrived has faded into the background for now. The storm earlier in the week has settled things down a lot and it feels more like a European summer. In fact, the conditions are ideal for rowing just now.
Having just witnessed our heavyweight compatriots bow out of the tournament with a brilliant performance in their semi-finals we are now waiting to meet the five teams who will make up our semi-final tomorrow.
We have a tough draw with the top four teams from last year’s World Championships in our race. We will have to produce our best performance tomorrow to get through. But that is what we are here to do.
Our repechage was ideal and good preparation for tomorrow. We ironed out a few niggles and produced a good solid race into a stiff head wind.
We are ready for battle.