Missing the Olympics and Henley Royal Regatta, Piers Burnell decided to recreate and film an Olympic rowing final in his back garden in a paddling pool.
Piers said, “I’ve been taking a lot of photos of me doing strange things, including me climbing around the kitchen looking like I’m mountaineering. I was talking to a few people about all the things we are going to miss this year including all the sporting events and the idea then came to me. I bought the paddling pool which I thought I could I sit in and looked liked I was in a rowing boat and the idea escalated from there. I could have used a proper oar but that would have defeated the purpose of making it fun. I did consider a broom but my large pizza paddle was perfect!”
The video was filmed on an iPhone on a tripod and took 8 or 9 takes. Piers explained, “Originally I thought I should try and get the rowing technique right and then after a few takes realised it was funnier that the rowing technique didn’t need to be spot on. After 2 takes I had to dump the water from the paddling pool as it was freezing! As I did the takes I thought of things that I had forgotten like pumping my fist and crying on the podium and the National anthem added an extra touch of emotion. I thought I should redo the bit where the stool (podium) wobbled too but then thought no it added to it all.”
In keeping with true Team GB kit, Piers was pleased to find that he had vest with blue and red stripes on he had brought from a high street chain and wore this tucked into some very tight swim shorts which he doesn’t normally wear (he only bought them to go on water slides on holiday). The medal he used was one that he won at a National Schools Regatta many years ago. Piers comes from a great rowing family heritage, his grandfather was Richard Burnell who won Olympic gold in 1948 in the double sculls, his great great grandfather was Charles Burnell who won gold in 1908 in London in an eight and his great grandfather (father’s mother’s Dad) Stanley Garton won gold in the 1912 Olympics also in the men’s eight. Piers commented, “This video is the nearest I’ll get to winning an Olympic medal! If I say so myself, it’s 47 seconds of magic and one that I’m really proud of.”
Friend, Kieran Gavin, who runs The Living Room film production company helped Piers add the commentary from the 2004 Athens men’s four final rowed by Sir Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell, Ed Coode and Steve Williams. Piers added, “Garry Herbert’s high pitched style excited voice was ideal as it had the photo finish and the collapsing of the rowers in boat.”