Tue, September 24, 2013

London calling 'Peg rower

By Jim Bender, QMI Agency


Janine Hanson is virtually assured of her second trip to the Olympics. (HANDOUT)

Not only is the local rower virtually assured of her second trip to the Olympics, Winnipeg’s Janine Hanson will be competing in England, the home and heart of the rowing universe.

 

It is akin to an Olympic golfer competing at St. Andrew’s.

“Rowing in England is huge,” Hanson said from Victoria Beach where she was relaxing after her boat qualified for the 2012 Olympics at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, earlier this month. “It is so huge that they’ve even re-done the program so that they can have finals on four different days.”

That way, organizers can sell more of the tickets that will be so much in demand, rather than holding all the finals on the same day as is the norm.

Hanson was a member of the Canadian women’s eights boats that qualified for the Olympics by taking the silver medal in Slovenia.

“We’ve qualified the boat, but not me as a person,” Hanson clarified. “To get a seat in the boat, we’ll race every day at practice, then we’ll have a race-off.”

Hanson, 28, was in the DOW seat for the silver medal.

“That means I’m in the No. 1 seat, which means I’d be the first to cross the finish line at the Olympics,” said Hanson, who fully expects to maintain that seat in London.

That would also mean the Winnipeg Rowing Club member would be the first to cross if Canada should win the gold medal.

“The USA has won every race since 2006, but we finished only .60 seconds behind them (in Bled),” said Hanson, who would join the national team as an alternate even if she does not maintain her seat.

Hanson also competed at the 2008 Olympics in China — her first — but the boat finished a disappointing eighth there.

“We didn’t have a phenomenal performance there,” she readily admitted. “We had an injury in the boat going into the Olympics and that affected it. There were also a lot of distractions in a strange country and in strange surroundings.”

But that should still help her for this Olympic go-round.

“I just felt that I learned so much and I gained such great rowing experience that I feel I’m more prepared now and more ready,” Hanson said.

Hanson will now prepare to compete in the nationals in November.