A rare glimpse into the Olympic Rowing Team, this photo-documentary by Shivani Parmar captures the true Olympic team journey.
The Longest Odds
Learn About the Olympic Journey
The Longest Odds is a photo-documentary that goes inside the Olympic journey and illustrates what you do not see on television. Read this and you will understand what athletes go through during their years-long journeys.
The Longest Odds allows us to see those highs and lows, the conflicts, joy, exhaustion, elation, fear – and most of all, the bonds of friendship being indelibly forged.
Written and photographed by Shivani Parmar with over 500 photographs as well as personal interviews with the likes of Mike Teti, Pete Cipollone, Bryan Volpenhein, Marcus McElhenney and many more.
Experience the bond of the team
This book offers an intimate view of the US Olympic rowing team, and through their experiences from the Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London Olympics, we can see what it truly means to be a member of a team, to be a leader of a winning crew, and to be pursuing a dream at the highest level.
For those who dare to dream
Above all, this book is dedicated to all those who have ever dreamed of pursuing something so big, so distant, so far-fetched, so impossible, so unattainable… and who have still gone for it despite the longest odds.
What is The Longest Odds?
This is the story of athletes that goes far beyond what gets shown in the news and from the press stands. And while we might never find that one true way to guarantee ultimate victory, the ride becomes a kind of victory itself. As these athletes share their minute-to-minute and day-to-day lives, it will make plain why they choose to try against the longest of odds.
Featured in Rowing Magazine
Featured on USRowing
Creating The Longest Odds
I’m not sure I appreciated how special my time with the National Team was. I’m not sure any of us did. But now, many years later, after we’ve all scattered and gone our separate ways, it’s hard not to get sentimental.
I arrived at the National Team Training Center at Mercer Lake in New Jersey during the summer of 2006, with the ambition of creating an intimate photo essay depicting what it really takes to get to the Olympics.
Sure, we all see the scenes from the Olympics with the boats at the starting lines, or from the side lines, or, most memorably, crossing the finish lines. I wanted to show the team beyond the lines.
When lightweight coach John Parker asked me how long that would take, I asked to attend eight to ten team practices. But, ten practices later, I realized I had barely scratched the surface. If I really wanted to do justice to these amazing athletes, I would have to stick around a bit longer.
And so the adventure began.
I found myself returning day after day, embarking on a journey that would take me around the world and into the lives of some of the most amazing people I have ever met.
I joined the team at the boathouse for practices, at home during their downtime, for selection events, and at international races.
The goal became to create the perfect masterpiece documentary detailing every tiny aspect of the Olympic journey.
But seven years, 165,708 photographs, 3,748 minutes of interview recordings, 34 drafts and two hard drive crashes later, my ambitions have changed. I look back and no longer see the trivial details of who said what and how each race went. Instead I see the things that really mattered.
Left behind are the shared experiences we had, the lessons we learned and the friendships we made along the way. I’ve come to realize that those are the real stories of the Olympic journey.
And yet, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to tell that side of the Olympic journey as a linear story. The best I can offer is a mosaic of photographs, conversations and memories.
The result is this book, made for all those who have ever wondered what the Olympic journey entails, particularly for a team sport.
But most of all, this book is for all those who have ever dreamed of pursuing something so big, so distant, so far-fetched, so impossible, so unattainable… and who have still gone for it despite the longest odds.