Dear Rowing, I am going to miss you.

Dear Rowing,


Just this once, I am going to write to you personally today. After many tries to write this article, hours spent on some vain versions, erasing and starting over, I finished my previous attempt with “Dear Rowing, I am going to miss you”. Only then, I understood that I had to speak from the heart and address you in person.

Yes, I am going to miss you my dear sport. I will stick around and you will still see me on the water as I still want to take advantage of the best you have to offer. However, I feel it is time for me to fold my racing unis once and for all.
One thing is sure: you were full of surprises. If you would have told me in September 1999 that 18 years later I would still be here with you today, I would have probably laugh at you and your arrogant belief. But your strength can be found in your followers. Without my first coaches and their love and passion for you, nothing would have been possible. You even managed to convert most of my family who tirelessly supported me every minute of that journey.

We have come a long way together, my dear sport. From the River Maine and its quiet castle to the Canadian Lakes. Obviously there are the medals and the travels that marked the way but you have a tendency to enjoy aerobatics and rodeo. What a roller coaster! You managed with those highs and lows to open new perspective in my life and I had the chance to discover who I really am. Integrity, effort, resilience, teamwork and work ethic are values that support victories but they reveal themselves when facing hardships. You left indelible scars on my body but you branded my character through tens of thousands of kilometers, relationships and eternal friendships. When I look at my 10 months old daughter, I am so grateful that you allowed Katie to cross my path on 2003.

If I am going to miss you, some of your imperfections won’t be missed. No more peeing in test tubes at doping controls. No more Big Brothers and daily whereabouts. No more training in pouring rain by 2°C. I am trying to find more imperfections but they are hard to find. I even rowed an ocean with you and I don’t blame you for it. Even though I know that I could have flown to visit Martinique!
Alongside me, you gathered hundreds of people: friends, family, colleagues, sponsors, supporters,... and for that reason I am forever grateful.
You gave me so much and I hope I will return it all a hundredfold. You gave me confidence and the will to go forward no matter what. As a good student of yours, I learnt to keep rowing until I was sure I crossed the line.

This time, I heard the “beep”. My race is over. Like every race, I had some good strokes and some bad ones. Some strokes could have been better and some of them were almost perfect. Like every race, time shrunk and I struggle to catch my breath. But I know today that it’s been a great race. The best so far. I have no regrets. I gave it my everything. I fought like a lion. I am smiling and crying because it feels so good.
No time to rest. I have to go back to the start line because a new race is about to start. Stress is positive and I like that feeling. I am ready. You taught me so much that I know I’ll be fine. I look over my shoulder and the finish line is far away. I can’t see it. I have to focus on my first stroke. I bring my focus back on that very first stroke. You see, I know what to do and you will be with me for the rest of my life.

Thank you my friend.

“The adventure goes on...”