20b0efor8e and beyond
2008 was a year of firsts: the first time 100 nations took part in the olympic
qualification process, the first time a world-class rowing regatta was held in China,
the first time China won an olympic gold medal in rowing and the first time rowing
crowned Paralympic Champions.
Jean-Christophe Rolland (FRA)
But 2008 also saw repeat performances, with
our rowing greats winning their second, third,
fourth or even fifth Olympic gold medals.
Increasingly, our heroes are staying at their
peak longer than those in past years and
decades. Although our sport does not allow
rowers to win as many Olympic medals as in
other sports at the Games, such as Michael
Phelps in swimming, rowing can boast
exceptional athletes who keep on winning
again and again over years and years of
Supporter circles around the world have found
new ways to cheer their sporting heroes on.
Whether through television or telephone or
newer means of communication such as live
video streaming or online social networks,
rowing enthusiasts have provided support
and motivation to the athletes they admire,
encouraging them to achieve their bests.
Some nations left Beijing delighted with their
rowing performance, while others left hoping
to have achieved more. This is competition.
Many challenges still remain in the area of
rowing development worldwide, but overall,
our sport has developed at the Olympic
level in a larger number of countries than
ever before and, as you will read from Thor
Nilsen, the technical level is higher. Rowing
Federations are now once again making their
plans and checking them twice, this time
with their focus set on London’s 2012.
Our heroes are those Olympians and coaches
who have committed themselves entirely to
their Olympic dreams – the dreams of going
faster, but also the dreams of competing for
the simple joy of it, whether winning a medal,
reaching the podium or just getting there.
As Pierre de Coubertin said: “The important
thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not
to have vanquished but to have fought well.”
This issue of World Rowing e-Magazine is
dedicated to those who had the dreams and
did everything possible to achieve them.
Chair of FISA’s Athletes Commission