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Rio 2016 – Supporters I salute you!

Apologies for the recent radio silence, it’s been a crazy couple of days. You will all have seen the amazing action from the Lagoa Stadium yesterday where the two GB Rowing Team eights, women’s and men’s won silver and gold medals respectively. What a morning! I coached the European women’s eight in 2011 and three of that crew have come through to these Olympics, I also coached Olivia Carnegie-Brown from her very first time in a boat and she sat in the 6 seat in this crew. It was a real honour to watch these girls realise a big dream that’s been a long time coming. It was also a huge privilege to watch the men’s singles final, where Mahe Drysdale of NZ, reigning Olympic champion, beat Damir Martin of Croatia by less than one hundredth of a second. What a race. And we witnessed a true sportsman in Martin, who rejoiced in his silver medal, congratulating Drysdale all the way.

So what has this experience taught me, as a step-parent and a supporter of sport? Well there have been a few things….

Being a supporter takes much more out of you than I had anticipated. We have been late for events, lost our way, had things stolen, got sunburnt, got rained on, been permanently starving, been permanently thirsty, drunk too much alcohol, not slept enough and cried a ridiculous amount!
There were definitely shortfalls at the venues in terms of food and drink and in the transport arrangements, but we have also been the victims of our own bad planning, and our own penchant for a few celebratory drinks. It feels a bit like a holiday, but then the alarm goes at 6am most mornings and the whole roller coaster starts again.

If I take one thing from this Games, it’s the shared emotion of all these wonderful parents and supporters. We have operated as a big gang and everyone has everyone else’s back. We’ve laughed, cried, commiserated and rejoiced together. We’ve learned from each other and shared information. I have met some brilliant friends, and the intensity of this shared experience has created strong bonds. This amazing group of supporters have watched the creation of a new generation of Olympians, Olympic medallists and Olympic Champions and that has made it a very special time. Bring on Tokyo 2020!!!
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