This Olympics dissapointing for American rowers

Posted: Sunday, September 24, 2000

SYDNEY-American rowers had a disappointing day at the Olympics Sunday, winning only a single bronze medal in seven races.

The only Augusta boat rowing Sunday, the women's quadruple sculls, finished fifth.

Germany won the gold medal easily, with Great Britain and Russia in a photo finish for silver and bronze.

The Americans were in fourth place at the 500-meter mark, fell to fifth at 1000 meters and never challenged for a medal after that. Their time of 6:30.26 was 11 seconds behind Germany and nine seconds behind Russia. Ukraine finished fourth.

The women's quad, with Hilary Gehman, Jennifer Dore, Laurel Korholz and Kelly Salchow, was the last medal chance for rowers from the National Sculling Center in Augusta, which was shut out in the Olympics.

The boat also was the source of some controversy as four other women went to court to try to overturn National Sculling Coach Igor Grinko's choices for the Olympic boat. The judge let Grinko's decisions stand.

Although the United States was the only country to qualify a full contingent of 14 boats, it won only three medals in rowing: silver in men's coxless pair, bronze in women's coxless pair and bronze in women's lightweight double sculls. The best finish for Augusta rowers was fourth in women's double sculls. The men's quad was seventh and the men's double was eighth.

The biggest disappointment for the Americans came in the men's and women's eights, the glamour events of rowing. The men came into the Olympics as three-time defending world champions and gold medal favorites.

They lost badly in their first Olympic heat, but battled back to row in the finals. They finished fifth, while Great Britain, Australia and Croatia took the medals. It was the first gold medal in the men's eights for Great Britain since 1912.

The women's eights had won the silver medal at the world championships the last two years and had high hopes for the Olympics. They finished sixth. Canada won gold, Netherlands silver and Canada bronze.

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