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Women's Eight (W8+)

Pre-Race Analysis

Preliminary Heats

Winners to the finals. Others to repechage.

Heat 1

GBR (Lane 1), ROM, AUS, BLR (Lane 4)

ROM is the 1999 World Champion and the defending Olympic Champion. Incredibly, the Romanian rowers in this boat collectively have appeared in 95 previous Worlds and Olympic events, amassing 59 medals including 28 gold between them. Most of them started rowing at the World level in the early to mid-1990's, but some go back as far as 1984 and 1986. Everyone seems to be waiting for them to "act their age", but ROM scoffs at those numbers and uses its experience to put up winning numbers instead. This makes ROM the gold medal favorite. ROM has confirmed its first place ranking is deserved by placing 2nd at the Vienna World Cup in June behind BLR, and then 1st at the final Lucerne World Cup in July. Although BLR got the better of ROM in Vienna, BLR slid badly to 6th place in Lucerne, making BLR a wild card pick in this race. Still, BLR may have uncovered a little age vulnerability in the ROM boat. Do not overlook AUS, 5th at the 1999 Worlds, but a good 3rd behind ROM in Lucerne, only 1.4 seconds behind. This may give AUS a real shot at upsetting ROM in this heat. At this point it looks like ROM will win and advance to the finals.

Heat 2

NED (Lane 1), USA, CAN (Lane 3)

The USA is the 1999 Worlds silver medalist and has not shown its racing colors anywhere this season. CAN, last year's bronze medalist at Worlds, is the crew the USA must beat. GBR has not performed as well as CAN this summer at World Cup. CAN finished 2nd to gold medal favorite, ROM, at the Lucerne World Cup in July, and actually closed on ROM in the last 500 meters, only to fall short at the finish line by 1.3 seconds. This may be another indication of ROM's age and potential vulnerability. In this race, the USA should win,. The USA's margin over CAN, if the USA does win, could give an indication as to whether the USA has made up the 1999 losing margin to ROM that it must do to challenge for the gold medal.

Copyright 2000. Kent Mitchell.

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