Sept. 2, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It didn't take Ashley Brzozowicz long to learn the magnitude of the Olympic Games. It came when she marched with the Canadian delegation in the Opening Ceremony at Beijing's National Stadium, better known as the "Bird's Nest."
"It was probably one of the most powerful experiences of the Games," said Brzozowicz, who rowed for the Canadian eight. "It is difficult to describe the energy you feel as you group together with other athletes from your country and enter the stadium behind your flag bearer. It really opened my eyes to the scale of the Olympic Games and made me very proud to be a part of the Canadian Team."
Brozozowicz's experience at the rowing venue was equally fulfilling. The Canadian eight reached the final and finished fourth, less than one second behind the bronze medal winning Romanian eight.
"We knew the final race was going to be fast and a battle to the finish line," she said. "Before the race I was concentrating on the job I had to do and thinking constructively. The race is a bit of a blur, but I knew we were in the hunt for a medal right up until the end. Of course it was disappointing to come up short of the podium, but we still had a good race and that is something to be proud of."
Brzozowicz was able to get out and see a number of other events, including the cycling final and two nights of track and field. She was in the stands when Usain Bolt received his gold medal after winning the 200-meter dash. In addition, she visited the Great Wall of China and saw a number of other sights in Beijing.
Brzozowicz also was able to catch up with her old teammate - Rachel Jeffers, who was an alternate on the U.S. Rowing team. The two stayed at the same hotel and ran into each other a couple of times.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity