Women’s eight golden race
Saturday was race day for the W8+ with Amanda sitting in stroke seat. We enjoyed some fabulous races, but were waiting for her race. The USA W8+ was favored – they had won the last 10 Olympic or world championship races. But winning is never a given, even if you are favored. The race was a bit of a nail biter as the USA was in third place at the halfway point behind Canada and the Netherlands, but they were beginning to make their move. They pulled ahead of the two leading boats and with stood the charge from Great Britain and Romania who finished in second and third, respectively. It was very exciting. Amanda was exhausted and had to consume some water and Rice Krispies treats on the podium before she could accept her gold medal with a smile. Not many dry eyes in the USA part of the stands.
Now that racing was over for the week, Amanda was able to join us for lunch, though she had to return to the media center for what seemed like a long time. In the evening we went to the USA House for a rowing reception, but our rowers were still meeting with the media, so we wined, dined, and talked without them. It was a pleasure to meet some of the women who Amanda had rowed with in France last year and the parents of the rowers. While the USA house is another place for families and athletes to hang out now, it will be returned to Rio as a school when the Olympics are over. The views of the beach from the rooftop were spectacular.
I am not sure I was surprised as much as pleased, that Rio did such a great job of presenting the Olympics. So many of the concerns about crime and dirty water were overblown and insulting to the people working on the event and living in their city. This is not to say that Rio is a paradise or without problems; I realize that we were seeing but a small part of the city. There was a great deal of security everywhere and we were not ever in the dangerous areas of the city. Will there be enough of a economic “bump” from the Olympics to make a difference for those less fortunate areas of the city? We will never know. There were obvious improvement in infrastructure which will hopefully have a permanent impact on the city. All I can say is, thank you Rio. It was a great experience and (probably) worth two 11.5 hour plane rides to be a part of it.