Having been in the Rowing Village at Royal Holloway since Sunday, I have begun to settle in to a new/old routine. It’s new in the sense that all the facilities are shiny and new, and that the moment of the Olympics means that there are more volunteers and security than at your normal world championships. There is also this look in the eyes of the volunteers, an eagerness to help, as if they’re really excited to have an excuse to speak to me. I almost want to look over my shoulder and see if there’s somebody famous behind me – surely they can’t care this much about little ol’ me?
Beyond the atmosphere, however, we have started to settle into village life. We get up, head to breakfast at the Hub (the food hall for the village) and then catch a bus to the course. After a quick warm up, we grab our oars, lift our boat off the rack and head out for our first row. Eight to ten kilometres later we’re off the water, heading for a shower and a bit of a rest before the next session. Another quick row, another shower and it’s on a bus home to the village.
That’s the funny thing about being here. Everything is so exciting, and everything is exactly the same as it was before. Sure there are guards with guns and people speaking different languages in the line at breakfast, but in many ways it’s exactly like every other international regatta I’ve been to. There are going to be logistical hang-ups. There are going to be plenty of crews on the water, washing you off. It’s still just two guys in a boat, one oar each, trying to go as fast as they can. In a weird way, the more things become Olympic, the more they’re exactly like what you’ve trained for.