Jamie Redman of Spokane watched her Olympic dreams sail away Thursday as the USA’s women’s 8 boat rowed without her to a gold medal.
“As the port-side reserve rower, I shadowed the women’s 8 in every practice,” she said from London. “I still had to submit our whereabouts for anti-doping, stick to the team curfew and avoid the infamous McDonalds in the Olympic Village Dining Hall.
“When one of my teammates was feeling under the weather, I hopped in her seat in the boat until she was feeling better. On the morning of the final, the starboard reserve and I still suited up in the team uniform, warmed up with the crew and were ready to race until the moment the 8 launched from the dock.”
She said she’s thankful for her Olympic experience. However, watching from the sidelines was one of the hardest moments of her sterling athletic career, which includes two national championships at Yale and three world championship gold medals in the past two-plus years on the U.S. team.
“I’m so extremely proud and happy for my teammates’ success, but I would have given an arm and a leg to be a part of that race,” she said. “It’s bittersweet, but it helps to know that I played an important part in winning that gold.”
Redman was injured in an automobile accident in January while at the Olympic Training Center near San Diego.
Despite being unable to train for weeks because of her bruises and concussion, she battled back to regain a spot on the U.S. boat that won gold and set a world record in May at the World Rowing Cup in Luzern, Switzerland.
But in June, team coaches named her one of two “spares” in the final Olympic selections.
Redman said she’s looking forward to returning to Spokane for her first break from full-time training in two years and entering the physical therapy program at Eastern Washington University.
She hasn’t ruled out making a stab at the 2016 Olympics, but said, “I need to make sure my head’s in the right place.”