Men's Eight (M8+)
Winners to finals. Others to Repechage.
We do not have actual lane assignments yet for the two Men's Eight heats.
ROM (Lane 1), NED, USA, CRO, ITA (Lane 5)
The USA eight has won the last three World Championships. This is the primary focus
boat of the USA men's rowing team, and is favored to win this heat, advance to the finals
and win the gold medal. ROM, NED and ITA placed 4th, 5th and 6th at the 1999 Worlds, but
none of them has performed particularly well this summer in World Cup competition and are
not expected to challenge the USA in this heat. ITA has changed its boating considerably
since the Lucerne World Cup in July, and is somewhat a wild card in this race for that
reason. Although the US World Champions ( 7 of the 1999 rowers are in the Olympic boat)
did not race at World Cup, and in fact will have their first races of this year in Sydney,
another US pick up boat composed of the USA Olympic 4-, 2- and spares did race in Lucerne
and finished 3rd, only 1 second behind Olympic medal favorites GBR and AUS. Presumably,
the US World Champions can beat this pick up boat consistently, lending more evidence of
its deserving status as the favorite for the gold medal here. Finally, CRO started out
well with a victory at the Munich World Cup over GBR in Munich, but faded to 4th place in
Lucerne behind GER, AUS and the pick up boat from the US.
GBR (Lane 1), CAN, AUS, RUS (Lane 4)
GBR, RUS, AUS and CAN placed 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 8th, respectively, in the 1999 Worlds.
AUS , however, has come on strong this summer, with two close 2nd place finishes behind
GBRat the Vienna and Lucerne World Cups, and a victory over GBR in the Grand Challenge at
Henley. RUS has not performed well at World Cup, finishing 6th in Munich in June and 7th
in Lucerne in July, finishing behind the other crews in this heat on those occasions. In
Lucerne, GBR had a comfortable lead with 500 meters to go (as it did at the 1999 Worlds
over the USA), but then gave up considerable ground to AUS and the pick up eight from the
US, defeating AUS by only 0.3 seconds and the US boat no more than 1 second . This
vulnerablility of GBR at the end of the race is a problem that seems to have carried over
from last year. Still, unless AUS gets an adrenaline rush from the home country fans in
this race, it looks like GBR can hold on for the victory here and advance with the USA to
the finals. Still, GBR and AUS are so well matched that either one could come out the
victor in this one.
Copyright 2000. Kent Mitchell.
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