Olympics Summer

Women's Lightweight Double Sculls

Who to look out for in women's lightweight double sculls

Name  Amber Halliday (b), Marguerite Houston (s) 
Country  Australia 
Credentials  As defending world champions and 4th place finishers in Athens four years ago, this crew seems poised to contend for gold in Beijing, said CBC analyst Barney Williams. A silver medal at the final world cup of the season suggests they are rounding into form.  

Name  TBD 
Country  China 
Credentials  "This is another case of the Chinese having so much depth that they have been unable to name their crew yet," said Williams. "However, with a gold and a bronze from the world cup season, there is every reason to believe that they will be on the podium in their home country." 

Name  Sanna Sten (b), Minna Nieminen (s) 
Country  Finland 
Credentials  This crew won silver at last year's world championships, but chose not to enter world cup events this season as they prepare for Beijing.  

Name  Melanie Kok, Tracy Cameron 
Country  Canada 
Credentials  A new crew this year, they have has an impressive campaign capped off by winning the final world cup and beating the Australians," Williams noted. "This will be the first Olympics for both women and this inexperience will be a challenge against such seasoned competitors." 

On a roll

With Canada having won a bronze and a gold from the world cup circuit, this new combination has built up plenty of momentum heading into Beijing, said Williams.

On a slide

Denmark and Germany both ended up tied for bronze at last year's world championships but have yet to find the podium this season.

X-factor

Williams said of all the crews in this race, Finland's success is difficult to predict. Given the choice of cutting down to weight for the world cups or waiting until Beijing, the Fins chose the latter, he said. They therefore have few results to point to. "However, they have entered the heavyweight category and ended up with a bronze medal at the last world cup," he said.

Under the radar

The United States and Netherlands are both new combinations and secured their spots at the Olympic qualifier.  Williams said both boats have plenty of world championship experience, which means they could find themselves fighting for a medal in Beijing.

The Canadians

"Melanie and Tracy have had a great season so far, and from all accounts will continue to improve as they spend more time together," Williams said. "They have shown they should compete for a medal and will be respected in Beijing."

The lowdown

Like all lightweight events, this race will see a very close finish, Williams said, reasoning that there's little to separate the top four or five crews, "given that they are all about the same size."

He predicts the race to unfold as follows:

"Look for Canada and China to lead out in the opening stages of the race with Finland and Australia close behind. In the third quarter of the race the Canadians should be able to push out ahead from China with Finland and Australia coming up to challenge the Chinese. In the final 500 metres, the Australians and Finnish will try and row through Canada, with China launching a final attack in front of their home crowd. At the line, Australia and Finland will edge out China, which edges out Canada."

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