Beijing- I am rooting for Australia!

July 9, 2008 at 12:20 am 3 comments

by Loraine Ritchey

Well at least in one event and I want you all to join me!

I am lucky really I have lived and have “ownership” in three different countries England, Canada and the USA, so when the Olympics roll around I have three chances for Gold, Silver and Bronze and now I have ownership in 4 countries in the Olympic sport of ‘Rowing”

Rowing first appeared as a competition sport in England in 1716. In 1793 it entered its University era, with its adoption by major colleges. In 1829, the annual traditional rowing regatta between the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford was established, marking the beginning of the sport’s rapid development.

Rowing events for men were first held in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, while women’s events were first included in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

and in the men’s lightweight 4 because one of the young men is the son in law of my friend -Ngaire -in Tasmania .

We regularly commiserate about life, love, politics and share the same irreverent sense of humour, we have sat on bleachers, travelled the world to watch our “competitive families”, sat holding our breath waiting for the finish line, the goal or the end of “the sword” and so when I received the email which mentioned how she was feeling , it took me back to bleacher days

“We sit quietly on bleachers. (Ever wonder why they are called that? I have my own theory and if you use the word as a verb instead of a noun you are close to my theory). We sit watching our child, especially in competition situations, stomach tight and barely breathing, savoring every moment and at the same time hoping it will soon be over”

and although my competitors never reached Olympian standards I know the feeling.

I have a darned headache coming on – in another 5 hours Anthony rows in Poland in the final World Cup series before Beijing. Ah well – another nerve wracking thing before China….. I would really like just now to go to bed with a good book for a few hours and just sleep for around 3 days –

and we “competitive” mums and mum- in -laws have all been there, whether it is Olympics or the local soccer, baseball tournament , we of the “bleacher brigade” know and can relate!
So along with Ngaire ( pronounced Nyree) I was glued to the results of the World Championship in Poland last month and the result for Ngaire and Australia –

A big move for Australia at the 900 metre mark got them ahead of France. France fought back. Australia then looked across to see Olympic bronze medallists Italy charging down the outside. This gave France a chance to sneak past. The finish was unfolding into a three-way sprint. France went to 41. Australia answered with the same. Italy took it to 45.

At the line France had earned gold. Italy and Australia waited for the photo finish announcement. Italy had won silver by just 0.02 of a second.


Ngaire’s son in law is Anthony Edwards his full profile and picture ( subject to copyright) can be found on the Official Site for the 2008 Olympics Australia“Anthony remains the only Australian lightweight rower to have competed at every Olympics since the discipline was introduced in 1996. He has also won a medal at all three Olympics he has attended.”
So even though Great Britain


and the USA

are fielding great teams in this sport of Rowing – it will be Australia that will have gained another mum holding her breath and fingers crossed as the finish line looms. Good Luck Australia and Ngaire!

Rowing at the 2008 Olympic Games begins August 9 and runs through August 17. Finals are set for August 16-17. The competition will take place at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, located in Mapo Town in the Shunyi district of Beijing. The rowing course is located about 45 kilometers outside of downtown Beijing.

Entry filed under: Brit take, everything else.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ngaire  |  July 18, 2008 at 4:06 am

    How wonderful to have such great friends and supporters across this wide world! Great article Loraine. Have been telling all and sundry that I will be the one having the coronary in the grandstand when the final is on! I recall nearly falling out of the grandstand in Seville in 2002 when Anthony rowed in the final of the World Championship single sculls and got 5th despite his not being a solo rower – can’t wait for the adrenalin and lift from the roar of the crowd – row you beautiful boys! (And Australia has a boat in all 14 events in the rowing). Thanks again.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  July 18, 2008 at 10:50 am

    No problem Ngaire and I wish I was there…will be thinking of you ! Loraine

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