I have been involved in watching THIS year’s Olympic games in London more than ever due not only to my fascination with Great Britain but also with my relatively new sport rowing, specifically sculling … plus the fact that 3 Olympic rowers are from my state of Illinois. The twins, Grant (stroke) and Ross (3 seat) James, in the Mens 8+, are from DeKalb which is about 45 minutes away from where I live and row. Sara Hendershot, bow seat of the Womens Pairs, is from Itasca which is 1.5 hours away from me. While these particular United States teams didn’t medal, they did teach me quite a bit!
I couldn’t watch the races in real time although I was very absorbed with them during the rebroadcast in the US….I didn’t even notice the local television crew that had stopped by our row house for the ‘viewing’ party! I was spellbound as the announcer called the various races, watching how smoothly the shells cut through the choppy water, noticing the form as the athletes powered up the lane, shocked at the rate at which they rowed. I watched for the feathering of the oars, the longer strokes of the shells that flew past my US teams and I laughed when I heard the announcer say the shells were “extremely tippy” due to the wind and the rough water. I loved the symmetry of movement from the Mens 8 and was impressed with the extension of the strokes and the power in the legwork. They make it look so easy yet I know differently.. I wonder how many blisters, nay calluses, the rowers have on their hands!
I have a tendency to ‘rush the slide’ so I was particularly conscious of the timing of the rowers – and the expertise with steering, something else I am working on! Watching the Olympic rowing heats/races, knowing the excitement and anxiousness of the rowers, and seeing the total exhaustion and elation on the faces of the winners, has inspired me once again to engage even more in the sport I fell in love with only 4 years ago – not only as our Regatta announcer but also as an active participant in rowing!
Liz Wylder Boyer
A relative ‘newbie’ to rowing, Liz has been sculling only 4 summers although she has been the calling the Midwest’s largest regatta, the Baird Head of the Rock Regatta, for 5 years. Liz and her husband Brian belong to the Rockford YMCA Rowing Club.
Liz is the proprietress/voiceover talent of WOW Broadcasting in Rockford, IL, USA. You can find her on Twitter (@wowbroadcasting), Facebook and heard weekdays from 2p-7p Central Time streaming through www.B103fm.com.