NOTE: This was written earlier in the week. The rowing team has since arrived in England.
Wow. Here I am, in Italy, rowing with team Canada, writing a blog for Castanet. How did I get here?
Well, my name is William Dean and I'm 25 years old. That much, at least, is clear.
I was born and raised in Kelowna, a product of the athletic old Kelowna Ritchies and the Deans, football players from the prairies.
I grew up playing just about every sport I could, from swimming to cross-country running to basketball. I had a series of great coaches who always inspired and pushed me in equal parts, letting me know that sometimes my best could be better and that good luck is made through hard work.
Looking back, it's really those first coaches in Kelowna who guided me towards my current path. That, and maybe those endless Kelowna summer days. How could a kid not be active with all that sunshine? I loved growing up in Kelowna, and am proud to call it my hometown.
After graduating from Kelowna Secondary School in 2005, I was fortunate enough to receive a rowing scholarship to U.C. Berkeley.
I spent five years there rowing and studying and loved every second of it.
After my graduation in 2010, I moved back to Canada to row with the National Team at Elk Lake, near Victoria. Since then I've spent my days rowing with the team two or three times a day and trying to somehow eat enough food to keep myself fuelled and energetic through what can seem like endless workouts.
One of my proudest moments with the Canadian team thus far came last summer in Slovenia, when my boat qualified for the Olympics. It was a great race for us, but it left us hungry for more.
Of the four of us that qualified for Slovenia last year, three are back in the boat. We're at a training camp in Italy right now, and it's a phenomenal environment. We have great food and a great support staff so we can concentrate all of our energy on going fast.
I'll be doing my best to post on this blog along the road to the Olympics in a few weeks. That being said, I hope you will all understand that blogging is distant priority for me at this time. I will probably miss a few days, and some days I simply might not post. All of my focus is preparing myself to go as fast as possible on the water in London. Thanks for reading!
Over the next two weeks, Canadians will be following with great interest the exploits of our athletes at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.
And, unlike Vancouver 2010 when a cure for Olympic fever was just a short four hour drive away, getting 'Up Close and Personal' with the London games won't be quite as easy.
So, here at Castanet, we've come up with a way to get you a little closer to 'Jolly Old England.'
William Dean, a 24-year-old native of Kelowna and a member of Canada's Coxless Four rowing team, has agreed to provide viewers with his perspective from the Olympics.
Dean will send Castanet a blog entry periodically throughout the games and, in turn, we will post his thoughts and comments for all to read.
Since training and preparing for his event (beginning Monday, July 30) is paramount, Dean can't promise a blog each and every day.
Dean graduated from Kelowna Secondary School before moving on to the University of California. He graduated in 2010 then moved to Victoria to begin rowing full time at the Victoria Rowing Centre.
Also an incredible cross-country skier, Dean comes by his athletic ability honestly.
His mother, Jo-Anne Ritchie was a world class triathlete while his dad Blake was a former coach with the Okanagan Sun.
We hope you'll enjoy these 'Snapshots from London.'
We will also be following with great interest the exploits of three other Okanagan athletes completing in London.
- Scott Frandsen, Kelowna - Coxless Pairs Rowing. Silver medal winner in 2008
- Brett McMahon, Kelowna - Triathlon
- Vasek Pospisil, Vernon - Tennis
Fans of the Kelowna Apple Triathlon will also be paying special attention to Simon Whitfield and Paula Findlay, perennial competitors and winners of the annual Kelowna race.
Canada's summer Olympians will try to build on the record breaking success of their winter teammates at the 2010 games in Vancouver.
We finished third in medals with 26 and captured more gold medals (14) than any other previous host nation.
While a third place finish in medals is out of the question, the Canadian Olympic Committee has set a goal in London of a top 12 finish.
That would translate into approximately 24 medals, depending of course on how well other nations do.
This is also the first Summer Games since we introduced the 'Own The Podium' program.
The Olympics officially begin Friday with the opening ceremonies from London Olympic Stadium.
More London Blog articles