Transcript from the women's eight press conference held right after racing.
Caryn Davies, in response to a question about what she was thinking on the starting line, referring to something Mary Whipple had said to her a couple years ago: She said I want to feel what it feels like to sit on the start line and have that excitement running through me and I want to look you in the eye and know that we can have a great race. And that's what I thought about on the start line. There's just no feeling like that, having all that adrenaline running through you, and knowing you can have a great performance if you do what you know how to do. And, I just think that's, thankfully, that's something I've been able to do for the Olympics now. There's nothing like being able to share it with my teammates. That's the best part.
Interviewer: (Inaudible) with TeamUSA.org. I actually have a question for Canada kind of leading off that previous question. What will it take - you guys were close in Lucerne - what will it take to beat the US?
Lesley Thompson-Willie: It's not going to be the same US team that's sitting here. We won't be the same Canadian team. I think on the day you have to measure who you line up against. It's the end of a quadrennial, and it will be a new story, maybe the same story, but you can't predict.
Natalie Mastracci: The women sitting here beside me are amazing women. Lauren and I came into this program a little bit later. But the absolute amazing people that are sitting beside me, they have shown us how to work hard. They've shown us how to just commit to every single day and we are definitely going to take that forward into our new training group and just own everything.
[Interviewer]: For those ladies, I'm sorry; I'm going to ask this question in English so the others can understand. I don't think you had the best World Cup season but what made the turn around and what made you still believe that you could win a medal here at the Olympics?
Dutch crew member: Well, the World Cups were all a part of the preparation for this race, and in every World Cup we did something different. We had swaps in the line up, and in every World Cup, yeah, it was just part of the preparation. This was the moment that we were in the best shape that we have been in this year. So I think we did it right this time.
Interviewer: This is a question for Taylor; your last couple years have been pretty tough for you; can you talk about how it has been for you, and what it means to get to this stage.
Taylor Ritzel: I guess you are referring to my mother's death at the end of 2010; she'd been sick for awhile, and I sort of was looking to come back after New Zealand and spend some time with her in hospice before she passed away. For me not only has the sport of rowing really been a huge way to sort of get through the grieving process, but having the opportunity to have my teammates, who are the best support system out there, during those times when it is hard being away from my family - I think just the sport and the eight other women in this boat are absolutely, and the rest of Team USA, have made what had seemed to be a sort of impossible thing to get through possible.
Interviewer: This is for Mary. People are asking how you did this amazing streak and all that. What does your coach have to do with it? Tom has been given credit for turning the program around, what does he have to do with the incredible resolve of you women?
Mary Whipple: Tom knows us really well. He'd probably hate to admit that…
Susan Francia: He's a real ball buster. (laughter all around)
Mary Whipple: He knows what buttons to push, and he knows how to motivate us. But he knows also when to give us the belief that we can do it; so he balances it out really well. He knows when to say it's not good enough – a good job, not good enough – and he definitely allowed us to be the best that we were today. But the best thing about Tom is that he gives us the tools to go out there, and he gives us the belief that we can do it. He just really likes it when we take hold of it and make it our own. So he's a big part of the process.
Ed Hewitt: Maybe one person from each team could answer this. I think on each team there are veterans who have done this before, and there are new people. Maybe a new person from each team could tell us what the other folks told them it would be like, and then what it was really like?
Natalie Mastracci: Well… in our team we have stern three from the Beijing Olympic eight, and then our bow three is from the Olympic quad in Beijing, and then Lauren and I are sandwiched in the middle between all this incredible experience. So I think the thing that they impressed on us the most is that you have to race like it's just any other day. You have to practice how you're going to race, you have to make it so when you get around all the excitement, when you get around all this craziness that is the Olympic Games, that it is just any other day and you can be consistent and you can pull it out. I think that was one of the strengths of our team is that we were consistent in what we did. I just, I think these women are titans of rowing and I think it's going to be just an incredible loss to Canada, but Lauren and I are going to do everything we can to just keep it going, and keep their legend going.
Moderator: Someone from Team USA?
Esther Lofgren: Similar to Canada we have the six women who are gold medalists from Beijing, and silver medalists from Athens, and the new kids in the middle. Susan has been my wingman this year, and what they've imparted to us is to enjoy every second, to really experience every moment. It's been, for those of us who are new to the boat, it's been an up and down journey to get here. So to sit on the starting line with these women, and be feeling the wind blowing and the sounds of the other boats, and just to realize that we're here, this is the Olympic final., and feel every stroke, and enjoy every second of it, it has made us have a really amazing experience.
Dutch crew member: In our team I think we have three girls who went to Beijing (inaudible 0:07:54.0). I speak for myself, I only row since 2008, and I think really learned to row. I think when we started we had quite a young group of girls who were very enthusiastic, but actually could not row very well. We had to really start from the beginning and Susanna needed to tell us everything, like how to build up for a race properly and not get yourself into it and after 500 meters completely die. Unfortunately Femke did not make it to the eight but she really worked with us as well in the first two years, three years. The experience of Annemiek as a stroke has been wonderful, and she has been really patient in just telling us maybe sometimes push a little more hard but feel the boat a little bit more, which was of course very difficult for the girls who only want to push, push, push, push. Yeah, I think in the end we really found it, and we worked together at the right moment we made a great team.
Moderator: Are there any more questions for Canada because they'd like to leave us very soon. Any questions for Canada? Thank you ladies. Any other questions?
Interviewer from the Denver Post: Taylor, you were asked the other question - what has your overall Olympic experience been like and does winning a gold medal in reality meet your dream of it?
Taylor Ritzel: Oh, absolutely. I just can't believe it. I don't know, I think every four years it's all about the Olympics and the build up and really trying to make sure I take it each step at a time, each part of the season at a time, each World Cup at a time. But being able to compete at this level is just such a dream come true and a real honor. If you had asked me six years ago when I started rowing, I didn't even know what rowing was. So I think to be able to reach this top in the sport, and bring home a gold medal for the United States is something that I just can't even believe, let alone be talking about. Yeah, so it's unbelievable and I wouldn't want to be with anybody else.
Interviewer: Annemiek - three Olympics, three medals; one bronze, one silver and one bronze. How much did it mean to you to win a medal here at your last Olympics?
Annemiek: Yeah, well, my sport was two out of two so I had to make it three out of three. I'm really happy that I did it with this crew, a relative new crew. Yeah, I'm really happy we got a medal.
Moderator: Anymore questions at all? Anyone? Thank you very much ladies. Congratulations.