Lessons from London Olympic Trials

We had the chance to talk to Olympic hopeful rower Andrew Campbell who made it all the way to the London Olympic Trials!  Andrew didn't make it to the Olympics, it was a close race and won by about a second, but he learned a lot along the way, most especially, not to give up . . . Here's a few tidbits from our conversation with Olympic hopeful Andrew Campbell:

1. When and how did you decide to try out for the Olympics?

Following my 4th place finish in the Lightweight Single at the 2011 World Championships.

2. Was it a big moment in your life to decide to try out?

It was a big commitment. I knew I would not only be taking a year off of school, but a year away from my friends, family, and life as a 20 year old. I had a number of serious discussions with my coach and family.

3. What race were you trying out for in the Olympic trials?

The Lightweight Men's Double Sculls

4. How close did you come to making it?

In 2011, the US Men's Lightweight Double failed to place 11th or higher, and therefore did not automatically qualify the USA for the Olympics in this event. We would have to go though the "Final Qualification Regatta" which allows two countries that did not qualify in 2011 to earn there spot in London. I won the USA Non-Qualified Olympic Trials

with double partner Will Daly, but placed 3rd at the Final Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. We were beaten by the Hungarians and the Australians. The margin was around one second over a six and a half minute race.

5. What can you tell us about the experience of being at the Olympic trials? Was it thrilling? Was it scary?

The experience of trials and qualification was stressful, as I had committed a lot of time and training to the goal of reaching London. I very much believed in Will and myself, so I can't say the experience was too scary.

6. What is the appeal of the Olympics to you as an athlete?

The Olympics certainly has a certain shine to it. It is the only time rowing receives any inkling of mainstream attention. But mostly, I just want to compete against the best. So to me, there isn't really a tremendous difference between the Olympics and an annual World Championship.

7. Will you try out again?

It is very early to say but I could see myself training towards the 2016 Games in Rio.

8. Where were the trials held, how long were they (how many days).

US Non Qualified Olympic Trials were held in Chula Vista, California for around three or four days. The Final Olympic Qualification Regatta was held in Lucerne, Switzerland for around five days.

9. Were there former Olympians also trying out? Did you get to talk to them about their experience?

My rowing partner, Will Daly, was a 2008 Olympian. He was very familiar with the trials process and helped guide us along.

10. What are the prospects for the U.S. Olympic Rowing team this year?

Tough to say! That is why we race! There are definitely medals in the making.

11. Did you learn anything from your Olympic trial experience?

I have learned that when things don't go your way, you still exist and need to carry on. Life is about counter-punching. I cannot and will not just retire now. There is still work to be done.

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