Ellie Logan is going for the gold again. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is part of the U.S. women’s rowing team for the third time. She is one of an estimated 10,500 athletes representing 206 countries who will enter Rio De Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium on Aug. 5 during the game’s opening ceremonies, according to the Rio 2016 website.
Logan, 28, is a 2011 Stanford University graduate with a degree in history. She competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as a collegian. After the U.S. team won the gold medal in London, Logan decided to train full-time in pursuit of another gold medal.
“Even though I won two gold medals I didn’t think I reached my peak as an athlete,” Logan said. “This is actually the first full cycle of quad training I’ve done. The past two Olympics I was in the middle of college and I didn’t feel I reached my full potential.”
The U.S. women’s eight sweep boat qualified for the Olympic Games by winning the World Championships last year in France. The U.S. is one of seven teams which qualified for the Olympics. The U.S. team was selected by national coach Tom Terhaar and the U.S. Rowing Committee. The team is selected well in advance of the Olympics, according to Logan.
“Being selected is based a lot on what you’ve done in the past. It has a lot to do with your consistency over the past four years in international competitions,” she said.
When Logan was first invited to try out for the National team in 2008, she wasn’t confident about making the squad, let alone winning a gold medal.
“It’s a very competitive process. I really didn’t know if I was good enough to make the team until it was announced,” Logan said.
The women’s eight sweep boat competition is held Aug. 6-13. The medal round begins at 11:40 a.m. EST on Aug. 13. The seven qualifying teams will likely row the 2 kilometer course in less than six minutes. Logan describes the race as being radically different from other sports. The major difference is the position of the competitors: the eight rowers have their backs to the finish line as a ninth person, a coxswain, guides them.
“You can’t see where you’re going so you just have to place your trust in somebody else. It’s so unique you can’t really compare it to any other sport,” she said.
Logan believes any of the seven teams could win the gold medal. She described international rowing as “extremely competitive” and the gold medal is usually determined by all the pre-Olympic preparation.
“Women's rowing is faster and faster every year so you can't count anyone out,” she said. “It’s the biggest show the sport has so everyone is looking to be at their best.”
But the U.S. team stands a good shot at winning another gold medal. The U.S. Women’s Eight has won the Olympics or World Championships for the past 10 years.
Logan is hoping to taste the “sweet success” of a third Olympic gold medal next month.
“The first one happened so fast I didn’t even know we won until the race was over,” she said. “The second was pure joy. You put so much work into it, and after you cross the finish line, your emotions overflow and you enjoy a very satisfying feeling.”
Despite the Rio Games being marred by health concerns about the Zika virus and poor water quality impacting the aquatic events, Logan is glad Rio is hosting the games. She likes that Summer Games are being held in a country experiencing its winter and the time zone is only one hour behind the eastern United States’.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Rio. I remember watching the commercials seeing Rio got the bid and thinking how amazing it would be to compete there. It is such a beautiful country and I still can’t believe this is happening,” Logan said.
As for the health concerns, she said U.S. Olympic officials have prepared their athletes for avoiding potential problems.
“It’s really a lot of basic stuff when you travel anywhere like don’t drink water out of the tap and washing your hands a lot,” she said.
Her post -Olympic plans are to spend more time with her husband Carlos Dinares, a former Spanish competitive rower, who she married in 2015, and visiting Boothbay Harbor later this year. She is still undecided about competing in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
“I haven’t thought much about the next Olympics, but I can’t imagine going another cycle,” she said. Also, there are some other aspects of my life I want to explore, but right now, it’s something I’m not thinking about.”
Logan was a four-year First-Team All-American and a member of Stanford’s NCAA championship rowing team. Since the 2012 Olympics, she competed internationally three years ago in the Quadruple Sculls, Single, and Eight. In 2014, she competed in the Pair, Quadruple, Sculls, and Eight. In 2015, Logan competed in the Pair and Eight, and this year, again, in the Pair and Eight events.