Rachel Quarrell: The Woman on the Spot

At the Oxford press conference at Thames RC for the 2012 Boat Race, Rachel Quarrell can be seen on the right, together with Chris Dodd. In the middle of the photograph, sport journalist Martin Gough. Photo: Tim Koch.

24 July 2021

By Göran R Buckhorn

I would like to remind our readers to not miss rowing journalist Rachel Quarrell’s brilliant Olympic Games’ “Tokyo Express”, a blog she started for her trip to the Japanese capital. HTBS’s Tim Koch wrote about Rachel’s blog on Wednesday and since that day, there is a link to her blog on the right on this page. See the top link under “Good Rowing Links” (you have to scrolled down).

As the computer system organises the titles for these links, I decided to put an “A” in front of Rachel’s blog so hers will be the first link in that list.

This morning, I particularly enjoyed Rachel’s article “Journalism and working the system” in which she describes what “a day in the life of a working sports specialist hack is like at the Olympics”.

Now, I have never been to the Olympics, although I did have a good plan to go to the Barcelona Olympics to write about rowing for the Swedish rowing magazine. Alas, eventually it came to nothing as there was not money – mine or others – to cover the cost for travels, accommodations, food and drinks. Rowing is not a big sport in Sweden, so no newspapers there were willing to help pay for articles from a “specialist”. The papers were happy to publish pieces from sports journalists who wrote about the rowers who were paddling in their canoes…

Covering the 2016 World Rowing Masters Regatta at Lake Bagsværd outside Copenhagen, Göran R Buckhorn (right) was there together with photographer Jan Servin (left), an old chum of Göran’s from school in Sweden. The special thing with masters regattas is that there is only one race, no repechages, quarter-finals or semi-finals – it’s a final directly for the rowers. This makes these regattas somewhat boring for the “real” rowing journalists to cover as there is no build-up for an exciting final with the six best crews. Truth be told, for the regatta at Bagsværd, Jan’s images in the articles are the treasure trove from the competition. Not only did Göran and Jan enjoy the marvellous weather those September days at Bagsværd, they also got free sandwiches and beers as the only media folks at the regatta. Photography © Jan Servin/Servin Design.

So, we should be grateful that we interested in the sport of rowing have Rachel Quarrell, who writes for Row360 and the Daily Telegraph, on the spot at the Sea Forest Waterway. Of course, we should not forget that Oli Rosenbladt is covering rowing for Row2k.com and that the excellent Roei, the Dutch rowing magazine – one of the few rowing publications which is still printed in Europe – has people in Tokyo. Though it requires that you know Dutch, of course.

Rowing hack Göran R Buckhorn at the 2016 World Rowing Masters Regatta. Photography © Jan Servin/Servin Design.

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