Secondly, and this really pains me on a personal level, I messed up. I've almost put it to bed now (after numerous tears and even more numerous reassurances that it did not in any way affect the result) but it will always be there. I lost my blade in the World Championship final. It's every rowers worst nightmare. It really doesn't get any worse than that (although, admittedly I could've ejected myself from the boat, in which case I might have swam to the bottom of the lake and stayed there!). However, on the bright side, I did recover it, which - frankly - is a miracle. 95% of the time there is no going back when you lose a blade as spectacularly as I did. Game over. Finished. I still to this day have no idea how I managed to keep my head and get back into it. Mind you, I still to this day have no idea how I lost my blade. On some bumpy water obviously, but usually you know 2 or 3 strokes before that happens that it's coming. Not this time - it was there in my hand one minute and gone the next. Heart-stopping stuff I can tell you.
Anyway, I've done a lot of soul-searching since then, looking for the positives as every good athlete should (every race is a lesson, etc., etc., especially those that don't go as you planned...) and I've come to the conclusion that I should remember that I did get it back, that we didn't spin 90 degrees, slip to the back of the field and limp in out of the medals. We won the silver - despite having the bow girl out of action for 5 strokes - and we didn't give up. We fought hard for that medal and in the end I think the result was the right one. We were beaten by the faster crew. Granted, we didn't have our best race and it wasn't perfect, even before I lost my blade. But, as Laura (our 3 girl) put it so well in our BBC interview afterwards, 'that's sport'. And I for one am proud to say I was in that crew.