Here’s my take so far:
1. What a great venue. Well done Brits. The winds seem to be fairly straight head or tail, and the crowd in the grandstand is deafening. Awesome. Plus the Brits actually sing their national anthem loudly, which is cool!
2. So happy to see the home team doing well. Hearing the crowd roar for Alan Campbell, the men’s eight, and the women’s pair was great. Amazing that the Royal Mail has a stamp drafted with the Team GB Women’s Pair within 12 hours of them winning the gold!
3. I think it’s awesome that the crowd roars for the last place crews from developing countries. They will never forget it.
4. The US men may go home empty handed, which is what I was afraid of. The US women will carry the water this time and are well positioned in several finals, including the bronze today in the quad.
5. Some of the less well known rowing countries are doing quite well and are not that far off the pace, making or winning the B finals. Argentina, Egypt, India, Mexico, Cuba. There seem to be a lot of entries from Africa and the Middle East as well although they have a ways to go to be competitive. This is great for the future of the sport. Now we need a boatbuilder to figure out how to make a $1000 rowing shell.
6. Some of the big names didn’t make it. The US men’s eight, Tim Maeyens and Olaf Tufte in the single.
7. The Kiwis have an incredible sprint across nearly all of their boats, men and women. If you just look at it visually coming into the grandstand, it’s really amazing. Whatever training technique they are using for that kick is clearly something unique in the world and others should look at it.
8. The Kiwi men’s pair and the Australian 4- seem head and shoulders above everyone else. When you look at the semis, only fast crews are left, and they are still out by multiple lengths of open water, it’s just amazing that such a huge leap in human performance could be achieved in less than 4 years. There is something fundamentally different about those boats that we all should learn from.
9. The Brits seem to be trying out a new aerodynamic foil (you can see it to the left on the linked picture) on their bowboxes to direct the air up and over the bowman/woman, much like on the roof of a big rig cab. Good idea. Surprised the Germans didn’t come up with that.
10. This is the first Olympics in which I know very few of the people – the generations are passing and I am getting old. Well done Greg Searle and Ekaterina Karsten – win some hardware for the 40-year olds!