Going Four The Medals Saturday
August 03, 2012
LONDON – Since they were among the last crews to row in the heats of the 2012 Olympics, it is fitting that the men’s four will be the last to row for the United States and hold the final American chance for a third medal.
With two U.S. medals in the books – gold for the women’s eight and bronze for the women’s quad – Scott Gault (Piedmont, Calif.), Charlie Cole (New Canaan, Conn.), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.) will row for a spot on the podium against Great Britain, Australia, The Netherlands, Greece and Germany in the men’s four final at 11:30 a.m.
The four is one of three crews that will wrap up rowing for the U.S., including the lightweight women’s double sculls and the women’s single sculls.
After slipping onto the Olympic racecourse at Eton Dorney an unknown, untested crew, they have made their presence known, winning both their heat and semifinal, rowing down the competition as if they were the favorites to win and beating both Germany and Greece, two crews viewed as medal contenders before the regatta began.
But it will not be easy tomorrow.
Both Greece and Germany have veteran crews and will not be easily beaten again. And, the U.S. has not faced Australia or Great Britain, the top two favorites in the race.
“I think that’s great,” Gault said. “They’ve been battling it out, they’ve been fighting in the media. They’ve been going after one another and if we can sneak by them without them noticing, that will be fine with me.”
While happy with the way the racing has progressed, the Americans are well aware of the job ahead and know that adjustments need to be made in the way they handled the conditions.
They will have to have a top performance to win a medal. But they are confident.
“We’re feeling good,” said Gault. “We’ve preformed at this regatta fairly well. But we’ve got to step up. It’s going to have to be the race of our lives and we’re prepared to do that.”
“Obviously, there’s a couple of crews from the other semi that are going to be really fast,” Gault said after the Thursday semifinal. “Our focus is still going to be staying ahead of the Greeks, staying ahead of the Germans. I think if we can get that done, we can look at the medals from there.”
Both of those crews had leads on the U.S. during the starts. The Greeks got them off the line in the heat, and the Germans in the semifinal. Both times it was a matter of going straight in tough wind conditions. But the leads only lasted long enough for the Americans to settle down and find their rhythm.
“We have to row pretty well on Saturday,” Ochal said. “It’s good to get another race under our belt, but we have to be ready for Saturday.”
In the lightweight women’s double sculls, Julie Nichols (Livermore, Calif.) and Kristin Hedstrom (Concord, Mass.) will row in the B level final for places 7-12.
They will row at 10:40 a.m. against New Zealand, Cuba, Canada The Netherlands and Japan. “We’re obviously pretty disappointed,” Nichols said following the semifinal. “But we have a statement to make in our next race. We’re going to give it everything and make a statement there,” she said.
Also racing tomorrow will be Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.). In her first Olympics and only her second season of international racing she had hopes of making the top final.
She seemed to be on that path advancing with strength through the heat and quarterfinals. Thursday that hope ended with a fourth place result in the semifinal. After a few hours to regroup, Stone, while immensely disappointed, set her sights on having her best possible last row in the 2012 Games.
She will race at 11:00 a.m. against Russia, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland and Azerbaijan.
“But I put my heart out there,” she said. “And now I want to go out there in the B final and have the race of my life.”
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 row2k Media