CEDAR LAKE — Like the rest of the world, Jack and Cindy Rusher are watching the Olympics from home, while their daughter, Alie, competes.
"You just want to pinch yourself every day that she’s actually made it," Cindy said.
25-year-old Alie Rusher is competing for Team USA in the quadruple sculls event. Sculling is rowing with two oars in each hand instead of one.
They will compete Thursday, Saturday and Monday. Jack and Cindy hosted a watch party Thursday night to watch Alie's first heat.
When the Olympics was postponed, Jack and Cindy say Alie got an extra year to train. She even trained with her family on Big Cedar Lake last summer.
"The day the ice went out, she was out there in a rowing single and I was out there in a coaching launch," Cindy said.
They said Alie started rowing seriously in high school. Then she joined the team at Stanford University.
"In rowing the hearty work, it pays dividends. It's a work sport, no question," Jack said.
Jack and Cindy would know. They, too, are Olympic rowers. They both competed in Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992. Jack scored Bronze and Cindy won Silver.
"She’s going to get to that race course and sit at the starting line and have this realization dawn on her that, 'oh my God, I'm about to race in the Olympic Games,'" Cindy said. "I'm remembering that feeling and she will feel that."
They are disappointed COVID-19 rules prevent them from being there in person, but they may get a chance in 2024. Alie says she wants to compete again.
"To see her put in the work and show the discipline that she has and see her be rewarded has just been fantastic," Cindy said. "We’re just really proud of her."
Alie finished fifth and last in their heat, but they another chance Saturday, her family says.