An Olympian’s First Impression ~ By NRF Shields Fellow Taylor Ritzel

19.07.2012 BY: National Rowing Foundation
Taylor Ritzell

Taylor models her Olympic Outfit

Today marked our first full day here and things are…empty. We were one of the first teams to arrive, both from the US and in the Rowing Village. Our flight from Newark was short and simple thankfully and the welcoming committee at London-Heathrow Airport was very friendly even at 6:20 am. After being accredited and given passes that we literally have to wear around with us at all times (we even rowed with them in our boat today), we gathered our bags and made our way to the Olympic Rowing and Canoe Sprint Village at the Royal Holloway, University of London. The accommodations are awesome, perfect actually. We each get our own rooms complete with lots of built in storage (great for those of us who tend to way over pack…), a double bed and our own bathrooms. As if arriving here weren’t exciting enough, we then traveled back to London to go through processing.  Even though we were all jet lagged and overtired, there is always energy for new gear! In the span of a couple of hours we were fitted for our Ralph Lauren Opening and Closing Ceremony outfits, given loads (and I mean a ton) of gear from Nike and Ralph Lauren, and supplied with a new pair of sunglasses from Oakley, a watch from Hamilton and a whole bag of P & G products. Thankfully we got to ship a big box home otherwise I would seriously have to travel home with four carry ons. All in all, yesterday was a great welcome to London and made me feel very fortunate to be an American Olympian.

While waking up this morning wasn’t as easy as it usually is, I didn’t feel as bad as I thought I would after such a big day. We ate breakfast in the Village and then made our way to the course, which took a lot less time than we had expected. Eton Dorney Lake really is incredible. The venue is beautiful; there are Olympic rings, signs and mascots everywhere. The boathouse is the nicest boathouse I’ve ever rowed out of that’s for sure. We decided to stay at the course in between rows because of the distance back to the Olympic Rowing Village, so we ate lunch there and rested in the Athlete Lounge. While I really like the energy around a big regatta with all the other foreign athletes around, it was very peaceful to be one of the only teams there. We had the run of the place, so we made ourselves comfortable. The two things I took away from the course were that it’s chilly out there and that there will be wind, most likely a crosswind. Nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s good to accept it and learn to ignore it. So far, there’s really nothing to complain about. It feels like we have a ton of time before racing, but I know it will go by quickly! I’m off to bed now, but look for more updates soon! I’m so grateful and excited to be here, Team USA wouldn’t be here without your support of the NRF, thank you!

 

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