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posted August 5, 2008 @ 6:01 AM  |  Elite Level Competition category


Note: I wanted to share some thoughts from olympic rower Jennifer Kaido. Jen is a current U.S.Olympic team member and friend and former teammate of Sharon Kriz. (Sharon will be a member of Dynoswim's 24 Hour Liechtenstein Relay in November.)

Although Jen is a rower, the perspective she's been so gracious to share is applicable to swimmers and all athletes of all levels.(Photo: Bronze medal winners Sharon Kriz and Jennifer Kaido - from the 2005 Munich World Cup)

~By Jennifer Kaido - July 29, 2008

Family and Friends,

I finally made it to China! I can't believe my feet are on top of Chinese soil...and I'm rowing on Olympic waters. We landed around 2pm Beijing time (which is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time) on Sunday. The flight was a little over 11 hours long. I made a new friend during that time...Sydney, a little, restless, friendly 18 month old (maybe?) girl who enjoyed hanging out with us in the back of the plane. Most of our Team was up, walking/standing around and congregating through out the plane. When we landed, I had no idea we were even close to the ground due to all the fog in the air. It looked like we were still up in the clouds. All the reports of pollution and humidity are true. It just looked like a really foggy, rainy day, but it was actually smog. I have never seen anything like it. People have compared it to the pollution of LA. It was hard to see a quarter of a mile in front of me. The first step outside was a blanket of thick, warm air. It was weird, the air was warm and thick, but I wasn't sweating like I usually do back home. Since the sun doesn't shine through the smog so much, it didn't seem as warm. After a few hours of customs, baggage claim, waiting around, taking the bus to the hotel, more security, waiting around and a team meeting, we finally made it to our rooms at 7:45pm. I went to bed at 8pm and woke up the next morning at 7am....just in time for breakfast.

We went for a few rows yesterday (Monday). Just light and easy to get back into the swing of things. The smog was pretty bad at the racecourse...you could hardly see a quarter of the way down the race course (250meters). When the sun wasn't behind a cloud, you could see the outline of it through the smog. Today (Tuesday) though was much better. It was rainy and windy which blew the smog away and I found out there are mountains around the race course! And the landscaping around the venue is beautiful! There was a little bit of blue sky and sun today, which made it very hot. By the end of the day though, you could see a haze setting back down around the mountains again. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

The security around here has been......well executed. These people are trained, and are happy to do it. There are security personnel and guards everywhere at the hotel and racecourse. We have to show them our accreditation when entering and leaving the hotel and go through metal detectors when entering. At the race course, we go through the same thing, except we don't have to show our ID's when leaving. It seems like there are at least 10 people around just waiting to help you or search you. One of my teammates tried to take a picture of an Olympics sign in front of the hotel and one of the 20 people standing around came rushing over to her to stop. I'm not sure why she couldn't take the picture of the sign but I think it had something to do with NBC having rights to all things Olympics. The hard part is that they have just been trained to do security and look for dangerous equipment, but they don't understand alot of our rowing equipment. They have given our coxswains and athletes hard times for bringing in stroke coaches and cox boxes which is needed for rowing but they didn't understand that. I guess it's good to know they are taking their jobs seriously.

For now, our focus will be to get back to regular training....getting in some longer rows, and doing some race intensity pieces. We have one and a half weeks until racing begins, so I may not send an email until then. I don't want to bore you with the exciting details of doing the same motion over and over again all while going backwards. We'll save that for racing...when the fun begins!

Until next time,



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