Tuesday, July 29, 2008


About professional athletes... they don't always have lucrative full-time jobs. Therefore, parents and others may take up the slack if possible and not just for the rent. Today, John tried to complete the eCheck process for Margot's car which we think is either waiting for her in Princeton or back at her apartment in Arlington.
He had one of those horrific go to one place, find out you need to some place else, go there, and then have to go some place else experiences. The upshot, the process is complete but he's not sure where to send the results before we leave so that Margot isn't driving around illegally when she returns. 
I don't know how other countries do this, but if you make the National team you do get a stipend and health insurance and the blessing of access to trainers, etc. If you are not on the National team, you are on your own. Since this is an informational site, you might be interested in some of the details of the care and feeding of a future Olympic athlete -- a future which you may feel is possible in your gut, but don't have any assurances about during the process.
First of all, when Margot made the rowing team at OSU and then made the varsity, she received some scholarship money. Very nice! The following year when she stayed to coach, she was paid, hmm, oh yes, Nothing! She was a volunteer coach and the side benefit was that she could use the equipment and train. And of course, she loved coaching and working with the other coaches. Rent in Columbus was shared and fairly cheap. 
The following year, she went to Augusta to train with Igor Grinko. This program was very reasonable and included a lot of meals, the training in that lovely old boathouse with its spider webs and ancient boards and the whole waft of Southern decadence you get just standing within it and inhaling. Even when part times jobs are available, it's not always easy for someone going through rigorous physical training to find a job that is at a convenient time. For Margot, I think this time was very grueling because she had had essentially less than 18 months of real training in college, worked on her own, and was suddenly being trained in a program that expected her to be ready for international competition. She anticipated more developmental coaching but it was an Olympic year and therefore far less time than she imagined was available to focus on helping her learn what she needed to grow. 
So this was a frustrating year for her in some respects although she learned a lot and made some terrific friends. From what she has told me, she got along very well with Igor and has a lot of respect for him. He is a taskmaster (former Russian coach) but enjoyed her sense of humor and fun. He is coaching in China now. I think he coaches the 8 but the Chinese 8 didn't qualify for the Olympics this year. I'm hoping he is there though. I would love to meet him.


Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,
Lovely blog. Very fun read.

Two of my relatives (Peter Bernard and Sharon Rollit) told me about Margot but for the life of me I can't place how I'm related to your Olympic athlete! I assume it's from the Rollit side - my grandmother was Sheila Rollit Barker, and my dad is Anthony.

Can you tell me how Margot and I are related so when I cheer for her I can yell, "she's my third cousin twice removed on my fathers side!! Woo-hoo!!!"

DonnaLynne Barker

Julia Shumway said...

Hello Donna: So awesome to hear from you! My dad, Archibald Dixon Rollit, was your grandmother's youngest brother -- the baby of the family. Your dad is my cousin. We used to spend a lot of summers visiting Point Claire Quebec and staying with Uncle Tubby, next door to Uncle Charlie. We'd visit Auntie
Sheila and Uncle George at Selby Lake and read comics with cousin Karen. So, after all that I am too brain dead to tell you what you and I are to on another, or what you and Mar are to one another, but it is pure delight to hear from you! If you have a chance, let me know about YOU! Love, Julia