Queen reviews performance at Olympic Games
Kayaker talks about her time trials, discusses experience of memorable athletic competition
Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 15:08
My focus shifts from slalom racing to school this fall, but my memories of the Olympics remain both vivid and positive. I would have liked to finish better in the competition, but my race had more rights than wrongs. I prepared well. I trained efficiently, ate healthily, and studied video carefully. I felt focused and ready going into the race. I started fairly early in the competition, which made some moves a little difficult to gauge. Starting later means an athlete can observe more paddlers before his/her start. In the next four years I hope to boost my world ranking in order to earn a later start. The mistake in my first run might have been avoidable if I had watched more racers, since my plan was a little off.
The mistake in my second run was different. I came out of an upstream gate a little high, which caused me to come downstream sooner than I wanted. I did not have time to generate speed moving to the left side of the channel where the next gate was. This was tough. I had done this piece well on my first run, and as soon as I hit the current coming out of the upstream I knew I was off. Shifting momentum is difficult in rapidly moving water. I ran out of time and space, passing the gate on the right. When I miss a gate, I always go back for it unless a big water feature prevents it. This time I successfully powered back upstream. I was tired and knew full well that the time to loop the gate would put me out of the semifinal, but I had to go back for my personal satisfaction. One of my fellow team members, Scott, mentioned during a press conference that we would all be shooting for a run “we can be proud of.” While this run was clearly not perfect, I am pleased that I fought back. I am proud of that decision.
The London course challenges the best of the best; unfortunately my mistakes were too much for the semifinal. Despite these mistakes, I am grateful for the opportunity to compete and represent the US at the Olympic Games. This experience has made me want to push my training and speed my improvement. With my motivation for training rekindled, I look forward to representing the USA again in London at the 2015 World Championships.
There are plenty of other aspects of the Games to address aside from racing. I had the pleasure of meeting wonderful people from Team USA and UK volunteers. The British were excellent hosts! I also got to know some other athletes in my sport better than before. In particular I am pleased to have had a chance to become better acquainted with the women in my event. We are a model group of sportswomen. One of my favorite Olympic moments started when I received an invitation from a Cook Islands racer to take a photo with all the other K1 women dressed in our Opening Ceremonies. We were excited to share the Olympic experience together and then realized that this social gathering of competitors might be unique to our sport.
Of course I’ll also remember the spectacle of the Opening Ceremonies, the flocks of Team USA supporters, and the privilege of living in the Olympic Village. The whole journey was a thrill, a challenge, and an incomparable opportunity. I now understand why athletes commit four-year blocks of time in pursuit of the Games. It is a celebration of intense but fair and friendly international competition not to be found anywhere else. While I have been a US National Team member since 2007, being a part of Team USA on the Olympic level has been an honor and a treat. Between the Davidson community, my home state of Maryland, my coaches, family, and Team USA fans, I always felt warmly and enthusiastically embraced.
Now, I am beyond excited to return to Davidson for a fabulous semester of study, friends, field hockey playing, flickerball coaching, Turner, tour guiding, sports marketing, and training. I truly could not have made it to London without Davidson. Thank you all so very much, and see you around campus!