U S rowers off to a rocky start

Posted: Sunday, September 17, 2000

SYDNEY-Augusta rowers got off to a rocky start in the first day of rowing at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Both the men's and women's sculls failed to win their heats Sunday, but they will have a chance to qualify for the finals in Tuesday's repechages, or second chance, races.

In the women's doubles sculls Carol Skricki and Ruth Davidon finished third in their heat behind gold medal favorite Germany and a strong Netherlands team. The German team of Jana Thieme and Kathrin Boron jumped out to a quick lead and kept pulling away.

The Americans, who train at the U.S. Rowing National Sculling Center in Augusta, had the sixth fastest time among the 10 boats, nearly 11 seconds off the leaders. They hope to pick up the pace in the repachages.

Skricki and Davidon are strong medal contenders, but no one really expected them to beat the Germans, so they knew they would have to qualify for the finals through the repachages. They had to go to the Olympic Qualifying Regatta in order to qualify their boat for Sydney, but they won bronze at world cup stops in Vienna and Lucerne.

Lithuania and Romania are also medal contenders. Lithuania won the other heat Sunday. The heat winners go directly to the finals on Saturday. The top two boats from each repechages heat qualify for the final. The other boats will race for 7th-10th places.

In men's double sculls Mike Ferry and Henry Nuzum, rowing in their first Olympics, finished third in their heat and will return for the repachages Tuesday. They were nearly 13 seconds behind gold medal favorite and world champion Slovenia. Italy came in second.

Medal favorites Hungary and Norway won the other heats.

Ferry and Nuzum will race Tuesday where the top three from each of three repachages races join Sunday's heat winners in the semifinals. The top three in each semifinal row in Saturday's finals.

The men's and women's quad sculls move into action Monday.

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