Saturday, March 16, 2013

Australia is AUS-some!

My view from the office...first row on the 2000 Olympic Course!
 We’ve now made it through our first couple of days here in Australia, and it’s AWESOME! (AUS-some?) It’s warm, people are friendly, the course is beautiful, and I've made friends with a tiny kangaroo!

Mike Gennaro, aka Tiny Kangaroo. Team USA in Sydney Airport!
Okay, maybe not that last bit, but we are really having a great trip, and I couldn’t be more excited to race. After a 35-hour-long trip to get here (DC -> Princeton -> Newark -> Los Angeles -> Sydney -> Penrith), I was pretty toasted. But after a bit of acclimation and a couple of great night’s sleeps, we’re more than recovered!

Warm-up jog with the crew!

Penrith, where we’re staying, is home to the 2000 Sydney Olympic rowing venue, as well as the Penrith Panthers rugby team. Hopefully we’ll get to see a proper rugby game the last day we’re here, since we’re literally across the street from the stadium!

Pretty average weather here.
When we went for our warm-up run the first day at the course, I had such a strange sense of déjà vu. I realized that three of the races I’ve watched hundreds of times—the men’s pair of Andrieux and Rolland (and Sebastian Bea and Ted Murphy!), the men’s and women's single sculls, and the men's eight—they were all raced on this course! It’s really brought a lot of enjoyment to the rows down the course to be thinking about this marker as being where one crew or another began their amazing sprint, and even just remembering all the history that’s happened on this racecourse.

The other notable thing so far about Australia has been the bird life. Our coach (and hero), Laurel, raced here in at the 2000 Games, and she told us as we were waiting at the airport that what she remembered most were the “startlingly loud” birds. She wasn’t kidding…they have the craziest calls and whether it’s a solo crow or the huge flock of parrots that sleep in the tree next to our hotel, the volume is unbelievable. Thankfully, though, they do occasionally sleep, so we can, too!

I’ll be posting more photos and videos soon! Thanks for supporting us and GO USA!

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