Olympic Rowing, 30 July 2012

As I indicated in our earlier post we have just had an Olympic weekend (Torch Relay, Road Cycling & Rowing). On Monday we went to Eaton Dorney to watch the rowing. What seems like ages ago, when we bid for the tickets, we decided to go for the Monday (Day 3) because no medals were being decided and it was likely to be least popular day.

The rowing is a morning event and starts at 9:30. This required an early start. We left Teddington just after 6:30 and caught a train to Twickenham - all very quiet. The weather was kind with bright sunshine. Then the train to Windsor arrived from Waterloo arrived and we had to squeeze into the carriage.  It was not quite as bad as I imagine Japanese commuter trains but there were only a few inches to spare over the rest of the journey. We found ourselves packed in next to a group of Aussies who turned out to be the families and partners of the Australian crews that were competing that day. Maggie had a long chat to the mother of the bow of the Australian four, Will Lockwood. It appears that they will have a showdown with the British four (Pete Reed/Alex Gregory/Tom James/Andrew Triggs Hodge). They beat Team GB at the last 2012 World Cup (III) in Munich but lost to them early in the year at World Cup (II) in Lucerne.

The process of getting into the Eaton Dorney site involved a longish walk. We could have caught a shuttle bus from near the station but with a packed 8 coach train arriving we decided to walk in to avoid the crush. However, passing the River Bus operated by French Brothers moored by the bridge in Windsor, we went for that option. What better way is there to get to rowing than by boat?

Looking down the course and flying camera

Boathouses and camera tower

Camera boats

The "meet and greet" by all the volunteers and staff as we walked through Windsor Race Course was very good and the Army manning the security screening were both efficient and friendly. As some in the queue next to me said "perhaps we should get them to look after our airports". The regiment  we were handled by was the Prince of Wales Regiment. The facilities inside Eaton Dorney were very good with lots of food outlets for breakfast and although there were queues for some loos (caused by spectators going for the first available) there were plenty. The whole place exuded a friendly atmosphere.

We sat in Stand 2 and had good seats looking out towards the finish. A big screen was across the course in front of us providing us with wonderful coverage from the start to the finish. There were cameras on boats, cameras on vehicles and a "flying" camera suspended from towers at either end of the course that covered action over the whole of the 2000m. The commentators were informative and managed to provide both basic and technical information which included, when a New Zealand Quad Sculler had a problem, a description of "catching a crab". They even helped control the crowds as we left.
Stand for crew friends & family
Nearly full  - not like some other Olympic venues

New Zealand Women's Quad Sculler limping home after "catching a crab"

The racing was great. We saw the GB Mens Eight win their repercharge, the GB and Australian fours win their heats convincingly and the Double Scull of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins very convincingly win their heats.

Team GB Women's Double Sculler
 Grainger & Watkins

Team GB Women's Quad Sculler

Australia Men's Four

Team GB Men's Four winning their heat

Team GB Men's Four
Note they are Italian Rigged

As you can probably realise we had a fabulous day - a day to remember. I see that James and Amy from NB Luck Duck went on the day before us. They watched from the bank near the start, whereas we were near the finish.