Cameron talks to World Rowing about her career as a rower, her love of rowing and her future plans.

World Rowing: How did you get involved in rowing?
Tracy Cameron: I began rowing while I was working on my Masters degree in Calgary, Alberta. I was born and raised on the coast so moving to landlocked Alberta was quite a shock. I felt the need to be near the water. I stumbled across the rowing club one evening after school and signed up for a learn-to-row as a way to be closer to the water. Before moving to Calgary I played varsity basketball at Acadia University, but throughout my youth and teenage years both my brother and I were involved in as many sports as we could be. Whatever sport was in season was the sport we played.

Canada’s Melanie Kok (L) and Tracy Cameron celebrate with their silver medals during the medal ceremony in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls at the 2008 Olympic Games

My brother, Troy, excelled in fastball (softball). He was extremely competitive and was my arch-rival growing up in no matter what competition was on the go! I'm sure we inherited our competitive nature from our father since he was also quite athletic in his youth. Our mother also enjoys being active outside and influenced our love for skiing.

WR: You started rowing in 2000. Did you know much about rowing before this?
TC: The only rowing that I was exposed to growing up was the old flat bottomed fishing dory. I have been an Olympic fan ever since I can remember, so I do remember seeing it on television.

WR: Was there a turning point in your rowing when you decided to take it seriously?
TC: I fell in love with rowing instantly. In fact at the end of my first learn-to-row session I told my coach that I was going to the Olympics in this sport. So right from the beginning I was determined to take it as far as I could.

WR: You became a World Champion in your first year rowing on the Canadian team. Did rowing come easily for you?
TC: I must admit that rowing did come fairly easily for me, but I think it was because I had a strong athletic background going into the sport.

WR: Have you always worked or did you become a full-time athlete?
TC: I was working as a rehabilitation specialist with the Calgary Health Region when I started rowing. Three years after touching the oars for the first time, I took a leap of faith, quit my job and moved to the national team training centre. I figured if I was serious about this goal then I needed to be among the fastest rowers in the country.

WR: What are some of the highlights from your career?
TC: Making the team for the first time in 2005, and then winning the World Championship title in the same year was incredible. Also, winning a bronze medal with Melanie Kok in Beijing was a very special experience. We had an amazing summer and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves every time we went to the line. Of course, winning the World's in 2010 after a year hiatus was memorable as well.

Lindsay Jennerich and Tracy Cameron of Canada pose during the medal ceremony of the 2010 World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro

WR: Any low points?
TC: Racing the single in Bled (2011 World Rowing Championships), while recovering from a rib fracture was pretty brutal. I was still in a lot of pain and it was very difficult to watch as the doubles raced in the Olympic qualifier.

WR: What do you think you'll miss most about being an elite rower? And any parts that you won't miss?
TC: I will miss racing on the international scene for sure. I've met so many great people. No question I will miss the camaraderie. I will not miss the cold mornings or raining day rows, the kind that chill you to the bone and there is nothing you can do to warm up. I will be a fair weather rower now that I can choose.

WR: Do you have a favourite rowing anecdote?
TC: One of my first coaches was from Croatia and I will never forget his advice to me: "Get in front, stay in front, and don't s*** pants." I would say this time and time again throughout my career.

WR: What skill did you learn from being a rower that you think will help you in life in general?
TC: When you think you've pushed yourself as hard as humanly possible, I've discovered that you can always find more. I think the same applies in life.

WR: Was your decision to retire made quickly or was it something you had been thinking about for a while?
TC: I had no intension on retiring until after the Olympics, so it was a fairly quick decision.

WR: Did you come into this season with some reservations on how it would go?
TC: I've had a fairly tumultuous year coming into it while recovering from a rib fracture. The relocation to Victoria in January was not in my plans, however, I knew if I was to make the Olympic double then I had no other choice but to join the other lightweight women at the men's training centre. In February, I fractured another rib, so needless to say it was a bit of a tough go. However, despite these obstacles I still earned a seat in the Olympic double.

WR: Did you expect all of the media interest that you received?
TC: With the Olympics right around the corner there is always a heightened interest in the media. Any other year, I don't think it would be as big of a deal.

WR: Do you plan to stay involved in rowing?
TC: For sure, I will row as long as I possibly can. Being on the water still brings me a lot of joy. I will row for pleasure now. I would also love to be a guest coach, here and there, so pass along some of the tips and tricks that I've learned along the way. After arriving in Halifax (Nova Scotia), I'm sure I'll continue to be an active rowing club member on the local scene.

The Canadian lightweight women’s double with Lindsay Jennerich (b) and the smiling Tracy Cameron (s) at the start of the 2007 Rowing World Cup in Linz/Ottensheim, Austria

WR: Will you be watching the Olympics?
TC: I will be glued to the television during the Olympics. I'm looking forward to watching all rowing events and of course I will be cheering for ALL Canadian athletes. I've got friends who are competing in swimming, kayaking, hurdles, triathlon, cycling, boxing and dressage (to name a few), so it will be very exciting for me to be a fan!

WR: Is there anything that you would like to add?
TC: I have truly enjoyed the years I've spent as an elite rower; I wish all of my friends in the rowing community great racing in London. Be your best and love what you do.