Canada wins silver in women's eight Olympic rowing
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
ETON DORNEY, ENGLAND - It was the same old story for Canada’s women’s eight at the Olympic regatta Thursday morning as they finished second to the powerhouse crew from the USA.
The same old story, but it had a silver lining.
The silver medal was the second for Canada in these Games and the second provided by the rowers on the heels of the men’s eight Wednesday.
The Americans, who haven’t lost this event in six years, powered out from the start and were never seriously threatened by the Canadians or the Netherlands, who won the bronze.
Like the men, who faced a juggernaut in the German crew and staged a furious finish for a silver medal Wednesday, the Canadian women’s team — composed of veteran coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie of London, Janine Hanson (Winnipeg), Rachelle Viinberg (Regina), Krista Guloien (Port Moody, B.C.), Lauren Wilkinson (Vancouver), Natalie Mastracci (Thorold, Ont.,), Ashley Brzozowicz (London, Ont.,), Darcy Marquardt (Vancouver) and Adreanne Morin (Montreal) — were up against a big favourite in the American crew which has a six-year winning streak.
The American boat had six returnees from the crew which won the gold in Beijing.
Canada had been narrowing the gap on the Americans over the last couple of years. At last year’s world championships, Canada trailed the Americans by 0.74 seconds. At the Lucerne world cup, the gap was down to just .03, about two inches.
In other rowing Thursday, the medal hopes for Canada’s women’s lightweight double sculls, viewed as a potential gold medal candidate, were sunk.
Lindsay Jennerich and Patrica Obee, both of Victoria, second at the world championships last year, finished fourth in their semifinal Thursday morning and will go the B final.
Obee had been nursing a rib injury, but said earlier this week it was not a factor, though it apparently did affect their warmup routine.
They were sixth with 500 metres to go, but their rally fell short. China, Denmark and Australia advanced to the final and will be joined by Great Britain, Greece and Germany.
Canada’s upstart men’s four saw their chase of an Olympic medal also come to an end Thursday morning.
Canada’s crew of Michael Wilkinson (Victoria), Anthony Jacob (Vancouver), Will Dean (Kelowna, BC) and Derek O’Farrell (Montreal) finished fifth in its semifinal, four seconds behind the winning crew from the USA.
Also advancing out of that semifinal were Greece and Germany. They will be joined in the final by
Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands.
In the men’s double sculls B final Thursday morning, Michael Braithwaite of Victoria, B.C., and Kevin Kowalyk of Winnipeg finished sixth.
The only other Canadian crew in the running for medals is the men’s pair, the defending Olympic silver medallists David Calder, a Brandon, Man., native who now lives in Victoria, and Scott Frandsen, of Kelowna, B.C., will race in the final Friday.