Rowing at the Paralympic Games Begins Friday
August 30, 2012
ETON DORNEY – The United States brought home three medals from London earlier this month at the 2012 Olympic Games, and now the stage is set to win three more.
The second-ever Paralympic event in rowing takes place at Eton Dorney beginning Friday with heats in four events – the men’s and women’s arms only single sculls, the trunk and arms mixed double and the legs, trunk and arms mixed four with coxswain.
“This is obviously my first Paralympic Games, and I have to say I’m rather humbled by all the athletes that are here,” said Dorian Weber, two-seat in the legs, trunk and arms four with coxswain.
“Like a lot of people, I take things for granted and I feel that by coming here, a lot of things I may have done in my life are put into perspective. The athletes here train exceedingly hard and work full-time jobs. The dedication of these athletes is remarkable.”
Racing kicks off tomorrow with heats in all four events. The winner of each race advances directly to the final, while the remaining crews will have to race in repechages.
First up for the United States is Ron Harvey (Downingtown, Pa.) in the first of two heats of the arms and shoulders men’s single sculls. He will face Beijing Paralympic Champion Tom Aggar of Great Britain, unbeaten since his world championship debut in 2007, as well as Argentina, Germany, Brazil and Korea.
Next up in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls event is Rob Jones (Lovettsville, Va.) and Oksana Masters (Buffalo, N.Y.). The U.S. takes on defending Paralympic gold medalist China with a new lineup, Belarus, Russia, Italy and Ukraine in the second heat.
In the mixed four, coxswain Alexandra Stein (Stamford, Conn.), Eleni Englert (Oceanside, Calif.), Emma Preuschl (Indianapolis, Ind.), Dorian Weber (Brighton, Mass.) and Andrew Johnson (Greenwich, Conn.) will represent the United States, racing Ireland, Belarus, Great Britain, Canada and France in the second heat.
Preuschl won a silver medal in the event at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. She returns, along with Stein, Johnson and Englert, from the crew that finished sixth at the 2011 World Rowing Championships, where qualification for these Games began.
There, two United States crews – Harvey in the men’s single and the mixed four – finished in the top eight in Bled, Slovenia to qualify the boat for London. The third U.S. boat – the trunk and arms mixed double sculls team of Jones and Masters – qualified at the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in May.
A total of 23 countries will be represented in Eton Dorney at the Paralympic Games, with 108 Paralympic rowers competing. Finals are scheduled for Sunday, September 2.
Adaptive rowing has been part of the World Rowing Championship program since 2002 and, in 2005, the IPC announced the inclusion of rowing into the Paralympic Games. At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, rowing's first Paralympic Rowing Regatta was staged.
Click here for Friday’s start list. For results, news and Team USA athlete bios and features, visit www.usrowing.org.
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