Being an elite rower in the US is tough. I am sure most of the US rowers have dreamed at one point of their career about having been born in the UK, Germany, Australia, or New Zealand - countries that take real good care of their rowers.
The US selection process does not make things easy for the athletes, too (and reamins incomprehensible for all outsiders).
One athlete who - in our opinion - somewhat defied the system is Olivia Coffey (little sister of our coach - so we are biased).
She became world champion in the 4x in Aiguebelette - the huge surprise of that event (we were there and felt the surprise in the grandstand when the Germans got beat).
In Rio she was an alternate - only shooting pool with the Aussie coaching team - instead of doing what she does best: rowing. We did not understand.
Then she disappeared from the US and reappeared in Cambridge. Getting an MBA.
For the first time being exposed to European coaching. You have to read her interview where she speaks about the differences - Cambridge building vs. the US emphasizing testing. She must have impressed the Brits - she got promoted from 6th seat in February to stroke the 2018 Boat Race - winning it in a dominant fashion.
So the question was: how will US Rowing react? They did the unexpected: they put her on the team and let her stroke the W8+ to a gold medal at the Worlds in Plovdiv. The whole thing reminds us a bit of GB Rowing and Constantine Louloudis.
So like Louloudis did before her, we hope that Olivia Coffey will win gold in the Tokyo Olympics. Being beamingly happy and freshly engaged and winning the US Rowing fan choice award for sure helps with the motivation to do the grueling winter training - long, boring, hard miles.
We hope that US Rowing has the foresight to continue to invest in her and we hope she stays healthy till then.
Would be great if she could better her father’s Olympic silver from Montreal with a gold from Tokyo.
We wish her all the best and hope to see her again at one of our CHaOS outings.