Thanks to Quincy (4JP) for the first question to Gill Cronin, our very own Olympian
Q: Why did you want to become and Olympian and how hard did you have to train?
A: Dear Quincy,
Why did I want to become an Olympian? Good question, with a very short answer. I wanted to stand on the Podium and have the national anthem being played whilst the Union Jack was raised. To feel the pride that makes your body shiver and tears come to your eyes and the world closes in and it is only you, the music and the flag. After that the joy, jubilation and release of energy that comes from achievement after all the years of hard work and the relief of having achieved the goal and not blown it by underperforming.
Our training was very hard, we trained in a cycle of 13 days with 1.5 days off before starting again. We would train first thing in the morning on the river regardless of the weather (the exception being if it was very windy and there was a high tide especially if the wind was going in the opposite direction of the tide because that forms very large rolling waves which would break the back of the boat or swamp it). On those days we would go to the gym and do the equivalent work on a rowing ergo. That could be 90 mins of continuous rowing; or continuous rowing interspersed with intensive short bursts which would make you want to fall out of the boat with exhaustion. We would often train to such an intensity we would feel sick. I have trained in the winter when we had ice form on our outer clothing and icicles hanging off the riggers. After the morning session we would then go to work and at the end of the day come back to the river and either do another session on the water (if it was summer) or do weight training or running (in the winter) We went on training camps twice a year to a warm country where we had the luxury of training resting and training again. Our hands would often have blood on them from burst blisters, we were constantly having our backs and shoulders being repaired BUT then we raced and it was all worth it.
Hope this answers your question