Women’s Eight Rows For the Podium Thursday
August 01, 2012
LONDON – Six years, five world championships and an Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
It’s all just history now because tomorrow morning the United States’ women’s eight will not be thinking about what the teams and lineups that came before them have done, but only what they will do in this final at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
U.S. women’s head coach, Tom Terhaar, has been saying the same thing for the last three world championships - winning at the world championships is great, but everything is about the Olympics.
At 12:30 tomorrow afternoon, he will have the answer as the women’s eight races for the gold at Eton Dorney against Australia, The Netherlands, Canada, Romania and Great Britain. Certainly based on the success Terhaar has had with every lineup he puts in his eight, the U.S. is the favorite to win.
The U.S. crew of Mary Whipple (Orangevale, Calif.), Caryn Davies (Ithaca, N.Y.), Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.), Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine), Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.), Taylor Ritzel (Larkspur, Colo.), Esther Lofgren (Newport Beach, Calif.), Susan Francia (Abington, Pa.) and Erin Cafaro (Modesto, Calif.) won their heat Sunday by more than seven seconds over Australia, which had to qualify for the final in the repechage.
Most observers consider Canada to be the threat to test the U.S. to the finish line. They also won their heat on Sunday. But Terhaar made it clear after the heats were finished that he respects Canada but keeps a careful eye on Romania.
“I respect the hell out of (the Canadians),” Terhaar said Sunday. “I like the coach. I like the athletes. They’re just good people. We want to win of course, but a rivalry, no.
Romania is the one I’m always watching out for. What do they have, three Olympic gold medals in a row? They’ve medaled pretty much every Olympics since it was created. They’re the ones I keep an eye out for.
“Making the final is always a big deal, getting it out of the way. They raced really hard and well and it was a good first step. This is an Olympic final and people turn it up. Who knows who will win. We hope to race whoever shows up.”
While the women’s eight is the primer race for tomorrow, the U.S. has three medal hopefuls rowing to advance and one crew, the lightweight men’s four, rowing in the B final for places 7-12.
The first to hope to advance to the final will the men’s four crew of Scott Gault
(Piedmont, Calif.), Charlie Cole
(New Canaan, Conn.), Henrik Rummel
(Pittsford, N.Y.) and Glenn Ochal
(Philadelphia, Pa.) won its opening heat Monday, building an early lead and then finishing without having to sprint.
They race at 10:20 a.m. against Canada, Romania, Germany, Greece and New Zealand. The U.S. defeated Greece after falling behind them at the start, but the Greeks are a threat and were silver medalists in the 2010 World Rowing Championships where the U.S. finished fourth.
Next up will be the lightweight women’s double sculls team of Julie Nichols
(Livermore, Calif.) and Kristin Hedstrom
They will row at 10:30 a.m. against New Zealand, Germany, Great Britain, Greece and Cuba. After missing a spot to advance directly to the semifinal on Sunday, Nichols and Hedstrom won their repechage Tuesday. Three crews will advance.
The two big threats in this heat for the U.S. are Christina Giazitzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou of Greece the reigning world champions and 2009 world champions and New Zealand’s Louis Ayling and Julia Edward. The pair set a new world best time in their first international event together and finished the Samsung World Rowing Cup season with a gold medal. Gevvie Stone
(Newton, Mass.) has been having a stellar Olympic regatta so far, advancing from her heat and quarterfinals in impressive rows. Tomorrow will be her biggest challenge and her first goal of reaching the final in her first Olympics is within reach.
To do that, she will race at 11:20 against Sweden, China, Denmark, New Zealand and Azerbaijan. Stone nipped Sweden’s Svensson in the quarterfinal, but the former world champion will be looking to get even.
China’s Xiuyun Zhang won both stages of the Samsung World Rowing Cups that she raced this season and medaled at the 1996 Olympic Games. New Zealand’s Emma Twigg is an experienced Olympian and won a world rowing cup gold last season. Nataliya Mustafayeva of Azerbaijan is also a former Olympian.
For 2012 Olympic Games news, features and daily quotes from Team USA athletes, coaches, staff and family members, visit http://www.usrowing.org/Pressbox/2012Olympics.aspx.
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Ed Moran, photos by Ed Hewitt, row2k Media