Olympics Summer

Men's Eight

olympics the contenders men's rowing eight

Country Canada 
Credentials This Canadian crew hasn't lost a race in this event over the past two years, and in their only world cup performance, they won by a three second margin over the Chinese.  "Given the disappointing results from Athens four years ago, there is only one result they are looking for in Beijing," CBC analyst Barney Williams said, referring to the Canadians' crushing 5th place finish at the last Olympics and this year's quest for gold. 

Country USA 
Credentials The defending Olympic champions have had an inconsistent four years since Athens. However, Williams notes that with regular appearances on the podium at the world championships, they will definitely be in the fold again. 

Country China 
Credentials A 7th place finish at last year's world championships secured the Chinese a spot at the Olympics in Beijing. However, this season they have demonstrated that they are looking for more than a participation ribbon, Williams said. "With a strong second place finish behind Canada at the Lucerne world cup, they served notice that they will be in the hunt for a medal," he said.  

Country Great Britain 
Credentials With a bronze medal from last year's world championships, this crew has hopes of returning to the podium at the Olympics. This hope is especially strong after suffering a disappointing 9th place finish in Athens. Williams also noted that the team has added two of their strongest rowers from the pair this season, which led to three medals on the world cup circuit - including gold at the final world cup. 

On a roll

Canada heads to Beijing unbeaten and motivated by the desire to rewrite the headlines from Athens, Williams said. "They have not given any indication of slipping up this time around," he said.

On a slide

As world champions in 2006 and runners up to Canada at last year's world championships, Germany has failed to make the podium this season, resulting in a complete overhaul of the crew and demotion of the coach. "They head to Beijing with no momentum and serious doubts whether they will make the final," Williams said.

X-factor

As winners of the first world cup this season, Australia served notice that they could be in contention for a medal, Williams said. He added, however, that a fourth place finish well back of the Canadians in Lucerne revealed that the crew is struggling with consistency.

Under the radar

Having won a silver medal in Athens four years ago makes the Dutch crew a contender despite having a poor run up to these Games, Williams said. "At the last chance qualifier they showed good speed and may sneak onto the podium if one of the lead boats struggles," he said.

The Canadians

The Canadian crew has rebounded from a disappointing 5th place finish in Athens to place themselves at the front of this field. "With five members of that crew returning, there is no way that this crew will collapse again. They have added experience and power with the new members of the crew, and they represent Canada's best chance at gold in rowing and should deliver," Williams said.

The lowdown

The Canadians' dominance in this event has led many countries to focus their efforts on the men's 4-event. "As a result, this could be one of the more lopsided races of the regatta," he said.

The analyst said the race should unfold as follows:

"Canada will lead from the start with the fast starting Chinese keeping pace.  In the third quarter of the race the Canadians will push further ahead with the Americans coming through the Chinese and bringing Great Britain with them. Into the final sprint, Canada will watch a close battle for silver and bronze unfold between China, USA and Great Britain, with Australia making a desperate push for the final podium spot. Canada, the USA and China will make it on the podium just ahead of Great Britain and Australia."