In just 24 hours, millions of people will be tuned in as athletes from across the globe will begin to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. This year, Simsbury native Sara Hendershot will be one of those athletes.
Hendershot and her rowing partner, Sarah Zelenka of Itasca, Ill., will launch into the Olympic spotlight Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time, or 9:30 a.m. in London, in the first heat of the Women's Pair event.
The U.S. Olympic Rowing team left for London on July 16 and Hendershot and Zelenka have been practicing at Dorney Lake every day since.
Hendershot has been keeping friends, family, and supporters up to date by blogging about her Olympic experience.
The pair has had a busy practice schedule beginning early in the morning and again in the afternoon, slowly tapering their workout schedule in order to be rested enough for race day.
"Once we’re done with practice, our job is to recover. Fast. So on a day like today when we took some hard strokes, we put the boat away, grabbed a quick snack and water to refuel, and immediately got some stretches in," Hendershot wrote in a recent blog post. "Then once our bodies are feeling loose again, we hit up the team ice baths set up by our athlete tents."
Hendershot graduated from in 2006 and graduated from Princeton University, where she majored in psychology, in 2010.
The 24-year-old got her start in rowing on the Farmington River in Simsbury where she rowed for the Simsbury High School Crew team.
"It feels pretty amazing, pretty surreal," Hendershot said in a recent interview with Simsbury Patch. "I feel like I worked really hard for this but I was also really lucky."
Luck, it seems, had little to do with the years of hard work and perseverance Hendershot has put into her rowing career. And on Saturday, those years of hard work will have paid off when Hendershot and Zelenka begin their Olympic competition in London.