NEW YORK - As the clock counts down to the beginning of the highly anticipated Olympic Games in Tokyo, concern over the coronavirus ramps up. Locals, including the emperor of Japan, fear the multi-week event could become a super spreader event.
But in the USA, there's little time to focus on what could happen in Tokyo. Now is the time for Charlotte Buck to prepare for how she and her team will blow the rest of the competition out of the water.
The Rockland County native was late to rowing. She started at 19 as a walk-on freshman at Columbia University. She quickly rose to the top: All-American, All-Ivy, and on a path to Olympic glory.
Next month, Charlotte will get the chance to see that vision through with the U.S. women's eight, a rowing team that has dominated the sport for the better part of the last 15 years. She sits in what is called "seven-seat."
"Seven-seat's job — transmit the stroke's rhythm to the rest of the boat," Charlotte said. "You have to be in sync with the person who is setting the rhythm of the boat but also good at creating the impulse that's clear for your side to follow."
To have your Olympic dreams play out in the midst of a global pandemic in a country where even its leaders are concerned about the virus's transmissibility cannot be easy.
"It's definitely going to be very different. I have members in my boat that have been to London, Rio, and they have been preparing us," she said. "It's not going to be like that."
It won't be the Olympics Charlotte envisioned. But at the end, with the prospect of a gold medal around her neck, she's hoping It far exceeds her wildest dreams."
"Given everything we've been through this last year — my mom is a health care provider, seeing everything she went through in New York, I feel lucky to do this at all and I'll take it any form that we can," she said.
You can catch Charlotte and the U.S. women's eight, in the water on the second day of the games and then hopefully, in the finals, on July 30.
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