While sitting in the airport in Frankfurt I thought I would make a few quick notes about my impressions of the Worlds.
The Munich regatta center is a great spectacle particularly with a large number of spectators. It must have been some of the closest racing I had seen. The women’s eights races was tough to see our Australian crew miss out on a medal, but I was inspired by the fact that it was only no more than a couple of seats between each crew. The resilience’s and competitiveness was great to see. The Canadians showed that eights racing is not about over revving and rating high, which by the way seems to be a theme with many crews developing lower ratings. The drive and perception of length in many boats was something I enjoyed. Before the Worlds started I thought the heavy men’s double would be the race of the regatta and it was fantastic to watch. Add it to the other doubles and in particular the lightweights and the margins and never give up attitudes was very cool. The New Zealand team certainly has stamped authority on the Saturday finals and it appears they are intent on taking their unity and motivation to improve to Beijing and beyond. There were a few countries that would be feeling heavy after not performing how they would have hoped or expected. This would go for our team I suspect. Not so much because the results weren’t of a high standard, but that we all would have felt coming in that qualifying more boats for the games next year would have been more like. Your heart sinks when you see athletes who have trained and work for a season only to see it go down the drain in a way. The one attitude the came through from a fellow teammate about racing in the B final struck a cord with me and I certainly think they performed in away that they can be proud of. He said, ‘only one boat was going to miss out, but we said stuff that idea we want to go out there and win the thing and earn some respect.’ This echoed in my mind for hours after he said it. It was in line with the approach the Kiwi pair took against us in the final also and it made me proud to be in a race were neither crew was going to give an inch. The thing that stands out most is that World Championships are a challenge. The waiting game, a mental game and any defensiveness will be dealt with in the manner that it should be. It should be a last option not the first option and even then being on the front foot gives you some control. The option open up, not close down. The crews who succeeded here took their chances. The crews who got home over the top of others were made to earn it. If you feel you have had a great race and don’t medal, or win or place how you would like then some how I think it is easier to take. For those how fought this week and walk with pride the result although important it is not the only thing. The few athletes I spoke to after races gave me the sense that racing is tough. It’s a fine line between your best and well worst. It requires boldness to succeed and some times boldness still doesn’t get you there. The respect I have for many of the competitors is huge. When you see someone’s face drawn, drained with their eyes almost crazed you can feel their intensity. You can feel the depths to which they have dug and you can tell when capacity has been reached. That what I respect and it is that kind of effort, focus and willingness to challenge the norm’s that inspires some many others and me. The Worlds have been and gone and when the dust settles we will all begin to refocus on the next season. It’s a big stakes game and between selections, trailing, testing and finding the small improvements that can be made, it will be intense and over very quickly.