|MIKE MURRAY PHOTO|
|Think these guys aren't working hard? This is Jake Wetzel from the men's world champion eight in Gifu, Japan, where the team is going through a two-week pre-Beijing training camp. Average temperature: 36 degrees Celsius.|
All of the guys on the Canadian men’s world champion eight will tell you that Malcolm Howard is the big stud on the team, a rower with the kind of power they’ve seldom seen in their careers. So it was telling when we caught up with Howard just before the team left for a two-week training camp in Gifu, Japan, and he could barely catch his breath.
“I’m tired … I’m really, really … tired,” said Howard, gasping.
Judging from the pictures that ace chiropractor Mike Murray is sending back from Gifu, head coach Mike Spracklen isn’t taking it any easier on the boys – pushing them to the limit in the 36-degree Celsius heat.
The rowers wouldn’t want it any other way.
“We’ve put in a ton of hard work since we got back from the last World Cup,” said Howard. “We always think we’re working as hard as we can and then it’s raised to the next level. That’s exciting. He’s managed to push all to a level that I don’t think many us knew we’d get there. He’s pushing us quite hard and that’s what we need to do right now.”
Blogmeister of Beijing: Kyle Shewfelt has arrived in Beijing and the Olympic champion gymnast continues to blog his head off (Puts us all to shame.) The guy really lays it all out there, too, writing at length in one of his postings just before leaving for China about getting the news that his old girlfriend has found someone else.
Clara and Hayley: Speed skater Clara Hughes is doing the commentary on most of the cycling in Beijing – her old sport, the one she got two Olympic bronze in at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Hayley Wickenheiser, team captain of Canada’s women’s hockey team, will be doing the same in softball – she played on the women’s 2000 Sydney Olympic team. Hughes writes on her website about how difficult they're finding their new gig and that they're planning to hook up in Beijing for workouts. Someone ought it tell them there are rules against that in the fraternity. The only workouts most journalists will have at the Games is lifting a few Tsing Taos.
C is for China, C is for Censor: Judging by the fact the Chinese are already censoring the Internet, it could be a very long Games for journalists covering the Olympics. It’ll be interesting to see if the weak-kneed IOC does anything about it. The bet here is they won’t do a thing. The fact that the super supercilious Kevan Gosper of Australia heads the IOC media commission doesn’t inspire confidence. Apparently, his name translated into Chinese comes out as “weenie pants.”