I watched the Olympic rowers limbering up in the early heats this morning here in Britain building to what should ben an exciting final on Saturday where old sporting rivals Britain and Australia will fight it out for the gold medal with two exceptional crews.
Flopped out on the sofa with a large mug of coffee after a long weekend of over-indulgence, I was absorbed in the wonderful blend of technique and strength that both teams demonstrated and found myself mentally imitating the movements thinking that i ought to get back to that rowing machine at the gym – a guilty thought that has spurred me on like, I hope, so many of these olympic sports will inspire other lazy slobs like me into action again.
I think I will do better on that machine if I can imagine myself going for Gold in my own imagined Olympic Games.
Watching those rowing heats, I thought too of that memorable American painter Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) who, maybe more than any other artist, caught the beauty of athletic rowing with his many paintings of rowers on the Delaware River in his native Philadelphia. Seeing our modern Olympian rowers this morning has sent me anew to view these images of their 19th Century predecessors immortalised in man’s joy in that ancient battle between muscle and water. I shall try to remember these guys when I do finally go back to that rowing machine.