This is a simply incredible video of the Australian lightweight men’s eight winning the world championships in a photo finish with Italy, with end-to-end audio from inside the boat of the coxswain’s calls. This level of transparency is astounding, and gives a view of what it’s like to row at the highest level in the world. Crossfitters, understand that these guys are in the 150-lb. range, and they are racing 2000m at a stroke rate that never drops below 38. I love the water-level video showing just how fast they are going, and I love the setup for the move they take at 3:44 into the video when you can actually hear them set it up, take the move, and see them eat into Italy’s lead in real time. It’s amazing that they had enough gas in the tank to be able to do that 2/3 of the way into the race.
Thanks to Drew Ginn, one of the world’s all-time greatest rowers (3 Olympic golds, 5 World Championship golds), for the level of transparency he delivers in his blog about what it takes to be an elite athlete. Check out this dude’s split times for a 2K piece and eat a slice of humble pie…this piece would have easily won last year’s CRASH-B. This is why I always caution the Crossfit community about lightly throwing around the terms “elite” and “fittest,” because there really is no comparison with some of the specialist elites in specific disciplines.
I was fortunate enough to visit Australia several times before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. I received the most gracious invite you could imagine from Geoffrey Stewart and Tim McLaren to borrow a single out of UTS while I was there. I was basically nobody, they were the best in the world at the time, and they invited me in like it was no big deal. I will never forget it, and I was also lucky enough to see the famous Ginn/Tompkins pair race on the Nepean River before injury derailed them.
I remember being amazed at the time standards the Australian team was shooting for, and the percentage gain in human performance they thought was possible year over year in the sport. I asked if there was a typo on the time standards sheet because it was so much more aggressive than anything I had seen in the US at the time. While the US has a deep talent pool and should always be able to find fast athletes, I still believe that the Australian system for cultivating and selecting rowing talent is the best in the world, and I always love to see the Aussies win. I wish Tim McLaren the best now that he is coaching in the US.