New Canaan rower Cole to compete in Men's Four at Olympics
The countdown is on.
New Canaan's Charlie Cole is less than three weeks away from competing in the Men's Four rowing competition at the Olympics in London.
And while the pressure of competing on such a grand stage while representing your country may seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, the 26-year-old Cole sounds like he's taking it all in stride and with a workman-like approach.
"It was a huge honor to have been selected by the coaches. The selection process this year was very thorough, so by the end every one of us was pretty worn down," Cole said. "From the time we have been selected, we have done a decent job of staying focused on every training session and not looking past the next practice, and that's still how we're approaching things."
Along with teammates Scott Gault (Piedmont, CA), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, NY) and Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, PA) Cole and company will compete at 10:40 a.m. on Monday, July 30 in the preliminary heats. According to Cole, one of the quartet's biggest strengths is their ability to "complement" one another.
"We have a good group of guys who complement each other well. We know not to take our opportunity in London for granted, and so by that token we have a pretty similar approach to things," Cole said. "Everyone's strongest area is different, which is important because we are able to learn from each other. Everyone in the crew has something very tangible to add to the equation."
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Cole started rowing as a member of Norwalk's Maritime Rowing Club during his freshman year at New Canaan High School in 1999. While he quickly gained a passion for the sport, he admittedly was no world-beater in the beginning.
"Rowing in New Canaan was just starting then, so the program wasn't very developed, but I thought I would try it out. It took a long time before I realized I could be decent," Cole said. "At the time, I kept up with it because the coaches were encouraging and because I was seeing a lot of incremental progress. I wasn't great when I started, and it was that way for a while. The program grew up while I was there and that energy made it fun to come down to the boathouse."
"(Cole) works independently and very hard, and he's given a lot of his time. He was one of the most dedicated," Vengerovasyic said. "He was smart, he had the goal and he was always working for it. His dedication and hard work for the last five years was very consistent."
Cole, who graduated from Oxford in 2008, is happy to represent New Canaan, which has seen rowing continue to gain popularity over the years.
"There have been a lot of good rowers to have come out of the area both before I was there and since," Cole said. "When I was just starting it was motivating to see older athletes who rowed out of the boathouse achieve success, and I hope that in that tradition I represent New Canaan and maritime rowing well."