Gold in men's eight, bronze in women's double, men's four

The Canadian Press
8/17/2008 2:02:00 PM
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BEIJING - The men's eight crew capped a three-medal day for Canada at the Olympic rowing regatta by capturing a gold medal.

They won their race in five minutes 23.89 seconds.

"I knew that we had won it, there was nobody coming back at that point," coxswain Brian Price said of raising his arms near the finish line. "I kept telling them to keep on cranking."

Britain took silver in 5:25.11 while the United States won bronze in 5:25.34.

Earlier Sunday, the lightweight men's four and the lightweight women's double each captured bronze at the Beijing Games.

The gold brought redemption for the world champion eight team. Four years ago in Athens, the crew went in as double world champions but finished a disastrous fifth.

"I've been thinking about it ever since," said Kyle Hamilton. "I never thought I'd get the opportunity to be a favourite in an Olympics again.

"Just to come in as a favourite is an amazing experience. To do it twice is just amazing and to win ... I can't say anymore."

The eight comprises Hamilton of Richmond, B.C., Adam Kreek of London, Ont., Dominic Seiterle and Malcolm Howard of Victoria, Jake Wetzel of Saskatoon, Andrew Byrnes of Toronto, Ben Rutledge of Cranbrook, B.C., Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C., and Price of Belleville, Ont.

Earlier, the men's four crew of Iain Brambell of Victoria, Jon Beare of Toronto, Mike Lewis of Victoria and Liam Parsons of Thunder Bay, Ont., posted a time of 5:50.09 for bronze.

"We started everything we could in the first 500 to get ourselves into the race and essentially through the middle it's a dogfight, everybody wants a piece of it," said Brambell. "We knew that we had a really solid 500 and it was just a matter of not waiting for it but going, everyone together. We closed the eyes and went for it."

Canada used a late surge to solidify a claim on a medal, and almost moved into second place in the final leg. They finished just back of Poland, which took silver in 5:49.39.

"Coming into the last 500 we seemed to get our rhythm and Ian said 'Go for it,' we committed everything we had and went," said Parsons. "We knew it was tight, we really had no idea where we were when we started that sprint.

"It was exhausting. There wasn't anything left in the end."

Denmark took gold in 5:47.76.

It's been an emotional week for the lightweight four, whose coach Bent Jensen is battling pancreatic cancer. He came to the Games to lead his crew while getting chemotherapy treatments from the team doctor.

Their medal came about 40 minutes after Melanie Kok of St. Catharines, Ont., and Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, N.S., just managed to hold off a German crew for bronze.

They finished in 6:56.68, beating out the Germans for third by a mere 0.04 seconds.

"I thought we had it," said Cameron. "When we looked over I could see that our bow ball was definitely in front of the Germans. It was just making sure the judges were with us."

The Netherlands won gold in 6:54.74 while Finland took silver in 6:56.03.

"We're pretty pleased," said Kok. "After our first two races, we kind of had a tendency of sort of getting caught in the last 500 so we made it our mission to really execute that last 500 and lay it all down on the line and I think we did that."

The Canadian women's eight just missed a podium, settling for fourth in a time of 6:08.04. The Romanians took bronze in 6:07.25.

The United States took gold in 6:05.34 while the Netherlands, moving up from fourth heading into the final 500 metres, grabbed silver in 6:08.04.

The women's eight includes Jane Rumball of Fredericton, N.B., Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C., Buffy Williams of St. Catharines, Ont., Romina Stefancic of Victoria, Ashley Brzozowicz of Toronto, Sarah Bonikowsky of Orangeville, Ont., Andreanne Morin of Montreal, Heather Mandoli of Kelowna, B.C., and coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie of London, Ont.

It was a soggy day at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park. It poured rain until shortly before the start of racing but then let up as boats took the water.

The Canadian rowing team came into the Games hoping to bring home at least a couple medals and have now surpassed that goal.

Dave Calder of Victoria and Scott Frandsen of Kelowna, B.C., kicked things off with a silver in the men's pair on Saturday.

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