Di Ellis: A glittering finale to Olympic Regatta

As the London 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta ends, British Rowing Chairman Di Ellis has declared it “second to none” with Britain winning a record nine medals – four golds, two silvers and three bronze.

Attending her sixth Olympics, Di said, “It’s what everyone does on the field of play that creates the legacy.” And what a legacy. 

With British rowers producing their first women’s gold and a record medal tally, and 25,000 sports fans cheering on the crews over the last eight days, memories from London 2012 will be treasured for years to come. It is also the first time that an Olympic Rowing Regatta has employed big screens and a moving camera taking audience participation to new levels on the Richter scale if nothing else! 

“What’s been most outstanding is the crowd – the spectators,” added Di. 

“The Olympics just seems to have really caught the public’s imagination. It’s been absolutely wonderful for the sport. The athletes say it’s like coming into a tunnel – when they get to the start of the stands – just so uplifting.”

Thrilled to see GB’s female rowers take the spotlight after a record three gold medals, Di said, “It was wonderful to see their astonishing achievements. I think London 2012 will be remembered for the recognition of the strength and ability of Britain’s women rowers.

“To see Katherine Grainger achieve her gold was just brilliant – wonderful for her and for the sport.”

She added, “I think the success of the women’s pair demonstrates to everyone that our talent programme is working.”

Off the water, the Games Maker volunteers have played a huge part in the success of the regatta. 

“We are always conscious about how wonderful our volunteers are. They’re working such long days, from the crack of dawn. I hope that they’ve had an exhilarating experience and will want to continue volunteering at future world events.”

After the gutsy performances of all the GB rowing crews, demand to try out the sport is already taking off.  

Di said, “I think we’re well placed to meet the increased interest because of Explore Rowing and our facilities programme. It’s not just about rowing on the water it’s about helping to run our clubs.”

With many familiar faces visiting the rowing venue over the last week – from Princes William and Harry through to Sir John Major and Dame Mary Peters, the sport is in the spotlight.

“Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt came on the day of the pair and he was jumping up and down willing them on – you almost felt that he was in the boat rowing across the line!” added Di.

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