GB Supporters sum up the drama at Shunyi Lake
The Olympic Rowing Regatta 2008 is over and Mike James, GB rowing supporter and parent, is now able to write from Beijing, ‘Monday is a day of rest by the pool, under blue skies, with the odd beer. Tuesday will be busy; the Birds Nest in the morning, then touring this vast city before a final supper with our Gold medal winning Olympian son. It’s all got to end on Wednesday, as we fly back to UK and reality.’
Here’s a taster of how it felt to be in the Shunyi Lake stands from those chauffeurs, launderers, mentors and pasta chefs who also double up as rowing parents, grandparents, fiancées and friends. Look out for more from rowing’s GB Supporters in the September issue of Rowing & Regatta.
‘Our covered stand has a fresh breeze to keep us cool. The downside is no coffee for stressed relatives!’ – David and Mary Williams.
‘Six minutes of absolute mayhem. The early nip and tuck…. the mid-race sort out… the final stampede for the line and by then everybody is standing, chanting and cheering, and I was yelling at the top of my voice….’ – Chris Rowbotham.
‘The mixture of numbness and disappointment alongside relief and pride. Disappointment for the boys; knowing that they would not be on the podium this time, relief that it was over and pride at what they had achieved coming this far.’ – Abi Buggs.
‘It’s hard to grasp how the rowers must feel on the line – this moment in time has arrived. Better not to feel till afterwards – just row the race of your life and hope it’s your best performance possible. Because you cannot do anymore!’ – Caroline Bebington.
‘Amongst the friends and family of the rowers there’s an air of "all for one and one for all". Flags and food are passed round, links between rowers and family members are pieced together and reassuring hugs doled out. When the racing got going and the chants of "GB! (stamp, stamp, stamp)" rang out, the combined feelings of patriotism, nerves and pride in our rowers’ ability and dedication brought tears to my eyes.’ – Sally Hogbin.
‘For the last 500m the cheering was deafening, and the results board invisible for leaping yelling supporters. Then we saw it – GB’s first rowing medal for the 2008 Olympics. Relief flooded through. She had done it!’ – Peter and Elaine Laverick
‘The best fun was to see the faces of their families: pride, joy and amazement.’ – John Pilgrim Morris.
With thanks to all the GB supporters for their thoughts and their photos and congratulations to you all.