A pair of fourths
for Canadian rowers
CBC SPORTS ONLINE - It was a day of not-quite-good-enough
for a pair of Canadian boats at the Olympic rowing regatta on Saturday.
Victoria's Derek Porter was hoping to improve on his
silver medal in singles sculls from four years ago, but didn't even reach the podium in
Sydney, while the world champion women's coxless pairs boat of Emma Robinson and Theresa
Luke also finished out of the medals.
Porter was edged out by 27-hundredths of a second for
bronze by Germany's Marcel Hacker. Rob Waddell of New Zealand, the pre-race favourite,
went out hard and kicked it into high gear in the last 500-metres to capture gold. Xeno
Mueller of Switzerland, the defending Olympic champion, won the silver.
Porter also won gold as member of the Canadian men's
eights boat in 1992. The 32-year-old chiropractor looked strong in his heats throughout
the week, but in the final stages of Saturday's final, he couldn't keep the pace.
"I cranked it up with 500 to go, and that's what I
wanted to do, and I went through a wall and felt no pain," Porter said after the
race. "But my times were great. I couldn't have done much more, you know? I think I
had a really solid and race and just (got) beaten by better scullers today."
The overall disappointment for the Canadian rowers over
the past week at Penrith Lake seemed to weigh on Porter in his post-race comments.
"There was a lot of people behind me. And that why
I'm probably more disappointed for them as for me. I have a lot of great friends in
Canada. And my sponsors and everything that have been behind me the whole way."
"And, you know, I'm sorry for that," added
Porter, his voice choked with emotion."
Porter also suggested that this may mark the end of his
In the women's coxless pairs, world champion Emma
Robinson and Theresa Luke placed a disappointing fourth.
The gold went to Romania, silver to Australia with the
bronze going to the U.S. boat, which jumped out to an early lead before fading in the last
1000m, although they had enough to hold off Robinson and Luke.
Robinson and Luke were favourites in the event going into
the Games, along with the Romanian and Australian boats, but they've had difficulty in
2000 repeating their phenomenal success of their undefeated season in 1999.
"I knew from the races in Europe that there were
boats that were faster than us," said Robinson after the race. "I could delude
myself and see myself always coming first. And I look at a good race. I think the result
for me is disappointing because I thought we could do better. But in the boat with
Theresa, we rowed well."
Robinson and Luke still have one last shot at a medal.
They will row with the Canadian women in the eights final on Sunday. If that boat fails to
win a medal, the rowing regatta will shape up as one of Canada's biggest disappointments
of the Sydney Games. The Canadians produced six medals in rowing alone at the Atlanta
In contrast to the stumbling fortunes of Canadian
athletes, the French continued to enjoy a highly successful Olympics, this time winning
the gold in the men's coxless pairs. The U.S. and Australia won silver and bronze,
But the biggest story coming out of Penrith Lake on
Saturday was the fifth gold medal for British rowing legend Steve Redgrave, who rowed in
these Olympics with the victorious men's coxless fours boat. Redgrave won with the coxed
fours in 1984 in Los Angeles and put together three straight Olympic wins in the men's
coxless pairs in 1988, 1992 and 1996. Italy won the silver with the bronze going to
Australia, which has been having a remarkable regatta.
In an earlier race, Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus defended
her gold medal in women's single sculls from Atlanta, but just barely. After a lengthy
delay in which race officials reviewed the photo finish, Karsten was awarded the victory
by just 1/100th of a second in the closest Olympic rowing final in memory. Rumyana Neykova
of Bulgaria was an heartbreakingly close second, while Germany's Katrin
Rutschow-Stomporowski came in third for the bronze.
Rounding out the day's rowing action, Germany won the
women's doubles sculls gold medal with silver going to the Netherlands and the bronze to
Lithuania. And the Slovenian boat won the gold in men's doubles sculls, followed by Norway
reprinted with permission