Margot Shumway qualified for the London Olympic Games in the double sculls event with partner Sarah Trowbridge. Shumway was a member of Team USA at the 2008 Olympics where she had a fifth place finish in quadruple sculls event. She loves rowing so much the general lack of publicity it receives does not bother her.
1. Aside from the competition, what makes the Olympic experience so memorable?
Being around athletes from all sports all over the world on such a grand stage is a really fun aspect of the Olympics. The spectators definitely bring a level of “celebration of sport” to competition that you don’t typically get at most national competitions.
2. Throughout your career, did the accomplishment of participating in the Olympic Games always seem attainable?
I always believed that I could become competitive enough as an individual to be Olympic caliber. That doesn’t mean there weren’t periods of doubt or ups and downs, but through all of that my internal belief has been a constant.
3. Is representing the US in the Olympic Games the highest accomplishment for an athlete?
The Olympics for a rower is certainly the highest level of competition you can get to. It’s a real honor to be able to compete for the US at this level.
4. In your eyes, as a top competitor in your sport heading into London, is winning Gold simply a goal, or is it the only option?
Best performance is the goal. Sarah and I are working towards our best performance and if we can get a medal out of that even better.
5. Is there a special camaraderie that exists between fellow Olympians? If any member of Team USA were to win a medal, would it be as if you won it as well?
As a member of the team, I always want success for the rest of the athletes. I know how hard everyone has worked and its invigorating to see the team succeed.
6. Rowing is a sport that requires a great deal of stamina and upper body strength. What type of training do you do for these events?
We row. A lot. Rowing is a full body sport so the more quality strokes you can take, the better. We also lift weights twice a week, and do cross training on the erg, bike, or running.
7. Is it ever frustrating to you that Rowing does not typically get the notoriety that some other Olympic events do?
I love rowing. The amount of notoriety is does or doesn’t receive is pretty inconsequential to me. Rowing is like an odd little club. Everyone knows everyone and people know who the legends are even though the rest of the world might not.
8. You will be competing in Double-Sculls with partner Sarah Trowbridge. How did the two of you end up partnering up and how long have you been working together?
Sarah and I both left the training center this year and regrouped at Potomac Boat Club in Washington, DC. We’ve rowed together on an off for a number of years now and decided to give the double a shot. It hasn’t exactly been a straight path to London, but we have tried to make the most out of the amazing opportunities presented to us this year.
9. You’ve had success in single scull events as well as double sculls, how do the two differ, and which is more difficult?
The single has always been my favorite boat. Its just you. When it goes well, its all you, and when it doesn’t, its all you. The double is tougher in some ways because you are responsible for another person’s success or failure. It can be an extremely intense relationship rowing the double. You can’t just do your own thing, you really have to come together with someone else. But when it goes well, its really awesome to be working in harmony with someone else. There is value and beauty in both of those experiences.
10. What needs to happen in London for you to leave there feeling good about yourself and your performance?
If Sarah and I execute our plan and achieve our best race performance then I will feel good about London. I want us to cross the finish line and know that we did everything we could, that we had nothing more to give, and that we raced with intent and confidence.
We will continue our 2012 Team USA / London Olympics Interview Series all month leading up to the start of the Games. Find all the interviews and more Team USA coverage on the DoubleGSports.com Team USA page.