Athlete of the Month - September 2012
At the London 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta Australia’s Kim Crow made quite a name for herself as she was the only athlete to compete in more than one boat class. This could have been considered a bit of a gamble, but Kim was unfazed and proved that it was the right choice. She medalled in both events – the women’s single sculls and double sculls.
Kim came to rowing following an injury that cut her athletics career short but gave her the perfect rowing base. A year after picking up an oar Kim was rowing for Australia and from the start competing in more than one event was her standard.
Always upbeat and looking at the positive Kim is World Rowing’s Athlete of the Month for September.
World Rowing: Where are you at present?
Kim Crow: I am currently in Melbourne spending some time at home with friends and family. I will head back up to Canberra (rowing training centre) mid-September to brave the cold frosty mornings.
WR: Tell us about the week following the Olympic Games rowing. Did you stay in London? Did you see any other sports?
KC: We moved into the main Olympic village for the second week. It was great fun. Over the years I have made plenty of friends from other sports and I really enjoy getting the opportunity to watch them "do their thing". I have always admired the camaraderie and work ethic of the water polo girls, and particularly loved watching them play. They are tough as nails. All three games I watched went to overtime - I think being a spectator is more nerve wracking than being a competitor - but it was wonderful to see them come away with a bronze medal.
The other highlight was the athletics - the atmosphere in that stadium was just electric. Really special.
WR: Having to race every day at the Olympics did you find the mental or the physical side harder?
KC: It's a good question. I think much of the "fatigue" of racing is related to the emotional energy invested in priming yourself for the race, that perfect level of excitement. I didn't really dwell at all on the physical or mental toll. I had a job to do and just went about doing that job as best as I could. I probably only noticed how tired I was when it all finished.
WR: How did you organise training around the single and the double during the Olympics?
KC: The double sculls was our priority boat, so we did the majority of rows in that boat. During our training phase, we switched one of my ergo sessions for a single scull session, and Brooke and I did some of our long rows in single sculls rather than the double. During the racing phase the most important consideration was not really which boat to train in, but instead, to have enough rest. The important training had been done, and we had confidence in that preparation. Anything else was a bonus.
WR: How did you keep focused towards the end of the Olympic Rowing Regatta especially as your teammates had already finished racing and you still had more to do?
KC: I was lucky to be staying separately with a few of the other Australian crews out near Eton Dorney, including the men's four, who also raced on the last day. It was helpful to have them around. Having said that, it is pretty easy to stay focused on something when you have been training for it for the past four years... What's a few more days?
WR: What did you find most unique thing about racing/rowing at Eton Dorney?
KC: Two things stand out. Firstly, the crowd. Amazing. Although I do admit that I didn't hear the crowd at all in either of my finals. But I did love doing my morning row to loud cheers! Secondly, the cross-wind. Despite having beautiful conditions the week prior to racing, it was unfortunate that most finals days were marred by a cross-wind. But one of the beautiful things about rowing is that it is an outdoor sport, so it's part and parcel of learning to handle all conditions.
WR: How do you compare your experience to the 2008 Olympic Games?
KC: I was a much more experienced athlete in 2012, compared to 2008. Despite having a very poor result, 2008 was a wonderful learning experience and I was fortunate enough to be privy to some exceptional Australian performances that really inspired me to keep rowing and keep improving.
WR: What was the reception like when you got back to Australia?
KC: Crazy! We did a homecoming tour around the capital cities of Australia, and got a great reception. It's always fun to see excited, happy kids. I think, because the rowing coincided with prime time TV in Australia, lots of Aussies actually followed the rowing and really enjoyed it. Apparently rowing is a great spectator sport... Who knew!
WR: Where are you keeping your Olympic medals?
KC: In a couple of socks, so they don't scratch each other! I actually dropped the bronze one on the ground and snapped the top bit off...oops! So now I have one silver medal and one bronze drink coaster.
WR: Who have you shown your Olympic medals to?
KC: Lots of little kids. It's probably a breeding ground for germs as the medal is being passed from person to person... Oh well!
WR: When you tell people that you competed in two events what is the reaction?
KC: Only two?
WR: What physical activities (if any) have you done since your Olympic racing finished?
KC: I have taken the opportunity to have some down time, but I’ve been for the occasional run and am enjoying the chance to jump out in some bigger boats with my club, Melbourne University. It's nice to freshen up, but already I'm looking forward to getting back into training.
World Rowing: Are you now back in Canberra, Australia, at the training centre?
Kim Crow: Yes, I am back up in Canberra and loving it. My training is very flexible at the moment. I can do whatever I feel like, whether it be running, riding, rowing, erging or gym. I've even taken a few Bikram yoga classes, which has been surprisingly tough, but possibly even "fun." There aren't many rowers here at the moment, but over the next few months we'll be expecting a new "intake."
WR: Does this mean you’re looking towards Rio 2016?
KC: 2016 is a long way away, but it's nice to have a long-term goal to work towards. In the short term I've got heaps to work on, particularly in terms of my strength and my skills in the single sculls. It's a really exciting prospect. I'm definitely looking forward to it.
WR: What will be your next big race?
KC: I'm heading over to Head of the Charles (Boston, USA) in October to race there, and doing Head of the Yarra in November in Melbourne and the Billy Webb Challenge in New Zealand in December. But in terms of "big race" I think I'd have to say that the focus is on the World Cup in Sydney next year. It is so exciting to have a World Cup regatta "down under." I really hope the rowing world gets behind it. Penrith is an amazing course (super fast!) and it will be a great regatta.
WR: In Canberra are you a full time athlete? If not, what do you do?
KC: Currently I'm in the process of putting a PhD application in, which hopefully I will start next February. I'm looking to write on behavioural clauses in sporting contracts and dispute resolution mechanisms for behavioural transgressions. I'm focussing mainly on the football codes, because (of course!) rowers never misbehave!
WR: I understand you are a trademark lawyer. How did you get interested in trademark law?
KC: Trademark law is one of the areas of law I practiced in, along with other areas of intellectual property law, small scale commercial matters and various sports law matters. I ended up at an Intellectual Property and Technology Firm because the boss was a former champion runner and he was willing to employ me even though I could not work regular lawyer hours. He really supported me in both my training and my development as a lawyer. I was very lucky.
WR: How did you fit your legal studies in with training?
KC: When I look back, I have absolutely no idea! But somehow I did. Very good time management, it seems! I think it helped that I really enjoyed what I was learning, so it was never too much of a chore to study.
WR: Coming from a sporty family did you always imagine being an elite athlete, or did that come later?
KC: I distinctly remember watching the Barcelona Olympics and thinking that was the coolest thing ever. At that age though, there was a rather large discrepancy between dreams and daily realities. I certainly never thought I'd go to the Olympics in rowing... What's rowing?
WR: How much did your parents know about rowing before you took it up?
KC: About as much as me. You use oars and a boat right? On the river? My Dad still doesn't know the difference between a pair and a double or a four and a quad. It's quite endearing!
WR: As a former top sportsman does your father like to offer advice to you on your sport (Note: Kim’s father played top level Australian rules football)?
KC: No, not at all. My Dad's main past-time is ensuring I am well fed. He cooks the best steak going round. He is super proud of me for what I've achieved, but I'm pretty sure he'd be just as proud if I made a living as a hairdresser or played tiddlywinks.
WR: What do you like to do outside of rowing?
KC: I love to eat good food, drink good coffee, read good books, run up mountains and spend time with my wonderful array of friends and family. Oh, and sleep – a lot.
WR: Any favourite indulgences?
KC: My Dad drives a truck for Bulla Cream, which is an ice cream company. I love ice cream of all shapes and forms!
WR: What was the craziest thing that you did after the London Olympics?
KC: I went to a Thai restaurant and chose a dish other than the Chicken Pad Thai.