The cliché has it that a good photo is worth a thousand words. None more so than of this rower from Kings College, who believe it or not has just won the silver medal in the Maadi Cup – and in a time of 5 minutes 57sec. He was a member of three crews to break the magic six minute barrier.
His attitude sums up what is so special about Maadi – everyone goes in with very high hopes and expectations, and at the end, maybe you come out with a little less than that, which is hard to accept sometimes.
For the rowers, this is the end of the rowing season – and for most of the 17 and 18 year old the end of their rowing careers. They all hope, almost expect, to win a gold medal, as just reward for all the effort they have put in over the season. But the reality is that only a few will.
For the rest they often feel a little disappointed and flat, at what could have been. Particularly when you have rowed your guts out for the past seven minutes or so and have maybe just missed on what you know could so easily have been yours - but that’s sport.
However by the time they have reached the bank, life it is not so bad. The rowers are all proud of what they have achieved, and the younger ones fired up and intent on doing better next time. The older, put it down to experience – great, good and bad. The eyes are often tearful but the fire is gleaming.
Yes there is an intangible magic about Maadi. It happens every year. No-one quite knows what it is, or why it happens. Maybe it is the sheer honesty of the sport, combined with the exuberance of youth and the eager expectation of always doing better. For many it is their first experience of being at the sharp end of an Olympic sport.
Once you have been on the inside of many professional sports, you realise that sadly, they tend to bring out the worst in people.
Maadi is the reverse – it brings out the best in people, and that is what makes it such a special event.
Good rowers become good people, and there were some great ones created at Maadi 2006. Congratulations everyone!
Until next week!