At the Helm: It’s Just Different

Team Captain Zach Railey (on left) being interviewed by NBC Nightly News.

One of the curious aspects of the Olympic Regatta is that you often hear two conflicting insights from people who have been here before.

On one hand, you hear people say it’s like no other event you’ll ever compete in. There is more attention, more security, more media, more nationalism, more pressure… etc, etc, etc. There is more of lots of things. There just is, and it is undeniable.

But on the other hand, you hear people say that success requires that you treat it like “any other regatta.”


Therein lies the conundrum. It’s not like any other regatta, yet you need to treat it like any other regatta.

Here are some things you’ll experience at the Games that won’t happen anywhere else:

1. The regatta is lonnnggggggg! How many other events are two weeks long, with another week or two of training tacked on the front end? None that I can think of. We’re here for a month.

2. How many other events have the equivalent of SWAT teams roaming the grounds, with British Commandos guarding the perimeter?

3. How many other events have 800 credentialed press covering the daily results?

It’s just different, and every time I say that to someone who has never been, they nod knowingly, but it’s hard to imagine unless you have been through it.

So how do you deal with the inherent conflict between “it’s just different” and “you just need to act like it’s not”? You deal with it by creating comfort in the location and a low-stress team environment. We’ve worked hard on both of those things for the last four years, a conscious decision to begin practicing a “Games environment” right away at the beginning of the quadrennium.

We’ll see how it translates into performance over the next couple of weeks, but I like the way our team looks and sounds right now. Lots of fit, rested, confident people.

Stay tuned…

Dean Brenner
Team Leader

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