Drew Ginn was the athlete I went to first, the blogging gold medal winning rower from Australia, who, with his partner and childhood friend Duncan Free were going to repeat their success in past Games with a gold at Shunyi. Drew personified the kind of athlete that I wanted in the Voices of the Summer Olympics program, an avid blogger, photographer, vlogger. An athlete who understood del.icio.us, who knew how to present a story and build connections with fans. I tracked him down and one night late last winter we spoke on Skype. He was a little wary — rowers don’t get a lot of sponsors — but after some explanation he said, “I’m in.”
And so we were started, with a great paradigm of an athlete to show to other recruits as a model to follow.
Last night Drew sadly watched the closing ceremonies from the Athlete Village, incapacitated by a back injury, the bane of elite oarsmen. He’s facing surgery. He’s facing retirement. His final posts from the Games are a bittersweet reminder of the sacrifice and glory of competition at the very top of the scale. I wanted to post this to say “thanks Drew”; thanks for kicking off one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever been associated with. And to the other 99 athletes, words fail me. You delivered an insider’s view of the Games that has never before been made available. I don’t think the Games will ever be the same again.
“This has been the most amazing experience. The games, our performance, others performances, the support, the expectations, the conditions, wonderful reactions, failure, crushing moments, elation, and family and friends. The list goes on and on but from where I have sat it has blown me away and even with the pain of my back now become an increasing concern as to my longer term health, I am still buzzing and excited and about everything that I have seen and been part of. In fact it is as if I can not type fast enough.”