Olympics Summer

Canadians row to silver medal

The Canadian men's rowing pair Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder won a silver medal on the water at Shunyi Olympic rowing park on Saturday.

The Canadian men's rowing pair Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder have ended Canada's Olympic medal drought. 

The pair won a silver medal on the water at Shunyi Olympic rowing park on Saturday, the first Canadians to reach the medal podium in Beijing.

"We went on the water today hoping to have our best race and we did," said Frandsen. "It's really satisfying."

They went up against a tough field, including Australian pair Duncan Free and Drew Ginn, who took the gold in a time of six minutes, 37.44 seconds.

New Zealand's Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater won the bronze.

This is the first medal for Canada at the Beijing Olympics. Wrestler Carol Huynh guaranteed Canada either a gold or silver earlier by advancing to the final, but had yet to compete when the men crossed the finish line.

"It was a tough race, we tried to ignore the fact that we haven't had a medal yet as a country, and just focus on our two [kilometres]," Calder told CBC Sports after the race.

"We can come off the water knowing we had a great race," said Frandsen.

Calder, of Victoria, B.C., rowed in the men's pair at the 2004 Athens Olympics. They were disqualified during the semifinals for leaving their lane.

Frandsen, of Kelowna, B.C., has also had his share of Olympic disappointment. He competed at the Athens Games with the heavily favoured men's eight crew who finished a crushing fifth place.

Calder retired from rowing after Athens, but came back to the sport and resumed training in August 2007.

"We trained really hard all year… the long, hard miles of the winter paid off, and now we have something to take home," he said.

Canadian rowing crews will race in four more finals on Sunday, including the world champion men's eight, who are favoured to win gold.

The Canadian women's eight, the lightweight men's four and the lightweight women's double crew will also vie for gold on Sunday.

Men's single sculls

Olaf Tufte of Norway won the gold medal in men's single sculls on Saturday, successfully defending his 2004 Athens gold.

Tufte was trailing after 1,500 metres of the 2,000-metre race, but surged down the stretch, and finished in a time of six minutes, 59.83 seconds.

The rower had his water bottle in his boat during the race, a show of confidence in his ability to win since it adds extra weight.

Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic won silver in seven minutes, 0.63 seconds, and Mahe Drysdale won the bronze in seven minutes, 1.56 seconds. 

Drysdale, the defending world champion, barely advanced past the semis, and was taken off the water in a stretcher earlier this week, complaining of illness.

Men's double sculls

David Crawshay and Scott Brennan of Australia went wire-to-wire to clinch the gold medal in the men's double sculls on Saturday.

This was Australia's second gold at the regatta in a matter of hours.

Finishing second was Estonian crew Tonu Endrekson and Juri Jaanson, and third was Britain's Matthew Wells and Stephen Rowbotham.

Also on Saturday:

  • Canadian lightweight men's double sculls pair John Sasi and Cameron Sylvester finished in last place in their B final, to finish in 12th place overall
  • The Canadian women's quadruple sculls crew finished in second place in its B final, to finish 8th overall
  • Britain won the men's four gold medal in a time of six minutes, 6.57 seconds, followed by Australia and France
  • Bulgaria's Rumyana Neykova won the women's single sculls final in a time of seven minutes, 22.34 seconds
  • New Zealand's Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell won the women's double sculls gold medal in a time of seven minutes, 7.32 seconds
  • Romania won the women's pair gold medal in a time of seven minutes, 20.60 seconds

With files from the Associated Press