Six days on from the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, I am still feeling their absence as are much of the British population. With the lighting of the Olympic flame, there was a shift in the British psyche; a naturally sarcastic, cynical and sceptical nation, Britain was suddenly filled with a positive and driven energy as we supported our athletes to victory. Whilst we are all returning to our normal behaviour, what the Olympic fortnight proved was that British people are underneath it all still driven and motivated with a inherent desire to win.
On a personal front, I was already feeling a renewed enthusiasm for training following my arm injury from earlier this year. The Olympics arrived at an ideal time because it has just further fuelled this. Watching Team GB succeed day after day through the games just kept showing me how much an individual can achieve if they put their mind to it. It made me realise that I do not believe I have ever tried to reach my full potential in rowing (or just physically), albeit within the limitations of my life (I’m not getting any unrealistic ambitions on Rio 2016!).
After getting back in to rowing in 2008, I had two really strong seasons 2008 – 2009 and 2009 – 2010; over that time I had numerous wins and also lost my novices in both rowing and sculling. Since then though, I feel like I have been slightly adrift in the sport. In part this was not helped by the rules change of 2009 which made it easier to accumulate points – all our wins equated to points and we effectively priced ourselves out of any categories where we could realistically compete. Having spent the last two seasons up with ‘the big girls’ in WIM1 categories, we couldn’t compete because we didn’t have the time to train at that level. Sadly this has lead to us almost never racing – even those who were not injured over the summer like I was have not raced since WeHoRR, which is demotivating when we train to compete.
So for me personally, the legacy of the Olympics is the push to try and realise my potential. I shan’t be enacting any dramatic life changes, but I am going to commit myself to my training, give it the time, consistency, focus and energy it deserves. Whilst I am not old, I am in the age bracket where female rowers typically peak – this window will not last forever. I want to see if I am capable to performing better than I have previously, despite the fact that I am likely to meet people who train more or are just generally better than me. Whatever happens, at least I won’t regret it when I do get older!
I wanted to share this for two reasons:
1. I think everyone holds back on something in their lives, be in sport or otherwise. We should all take this opportunity to push ourselves further wherever we have been holding back;
2. At some point during the season I will need to come back here and remind myself of how I was feeling. Because trying to be better is hard work and I know I will waiver at some point! (Likely candidate times for me to re-visit this are either just before the first 5k test or when it hits double digit negative temperatures in winter!)