Canadian rowing crews nominated for Beijing
Canadian rowing fans have a lot to look forward to when the Beijing Olympics kick off in August now that seven Canadian crews have been officially nominated to compete in China.
An additional team, the women's pair, has qualified but has not yet been named.
Nominations to the Canadian Olympic team were officially announced Wednesday at a Rowing Canada media event in Toronto.
"This is a strong team, both in skill and maturity level," said Phil Monckton, the organization's VP of high performance. "The final weeks of preparation before the Olympics are intense and exciting — we're looking forward to the Olympic regatta and to making Canada proud."
Teams that will compete in China include the men's eight, men's pair, lightweight men's double, lightweight men's four, women's eight, women's quad and lightweight women's double.
"It's my first Olympics, so it's really exciting," said Melanie Kok, who'll be competing in the lightweight women's double event.
Her teammate, Tracy Cameron, is just as enthused. Cameron said she and Kok, who have been rowing together since last November, share the same passion.
"We'll both do whatever it takes to take a second off," she said.
Ashley Brzozowicz, member of the women's eight team, said the official announcement was especially exciting for her crew given that, while some athletes earned Olympic berths last year, her team had only recently qualified.
"For us, it's still sinking in," she said.
The media attention wasn't new for men's pair competitor Scott Frandsen. Frandsen competed in the Athens 2004 Olympics with the men's eight, a crew that had hoped for gold but finished a disappointing fifth.
For the Kelowna, B.C., native, Beijing will be a second chance, and these Games will be vastly different. He and teammate David Calder (of Victoria) have only been rowing together for three months, and for Frandsen, the expectations are nothing like before.
"It's totally different this time around. No one was sure that we'd even qualify," he said, adding that the pressure to earn a spot in Beijing was likely greater than it will be during the Games themselves.
Members of the men's eight, who are training in B.C. and were unable to attend the gala, include:
- Brian Price of Belleville, Ont.
- Kyle Hamilton of Richmond, B.C.
- Adam Kreek of London, Ont.
- Dominic Sieterle of Victoria
- Malcolm Howard of Victoria
- Jake Wetzel of Saskatoon
- Andrew Byrnes of Toronto
- Ben Rutledge of Cranbrook, B.C.
- Kevin Light of Sydney, B.C.
The women's contingent includes:
- Ashley Brzozowicz of Toronto
- Jane Rumball of Fredericton
- Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C.
- Buffy Williams of St. Catharines, Ont.
- Romina Stefancic of Victoria
- Sarah Bonikowsky of Orangeville, Ont.
- Andreanne Morin of Montreal
- Heather Mandoli of Kelowna, B.C.
- Lesley Thompson-Willie of London, Ont.
Rowing for Canada in the women's quad will be Anna-Marie de Zwager of Victoria; Krista Guloien of Port Moody, B.C.; Rachelle de Jong of Regina; and Janine Hanson of Winnipeg.
Douglas Vandor of Dewittville, Que., and Cameron Sylvester of Caledon, Ont., will represent Canada in the lightweight men's double.
Rowing in the men's four will be Iain Brambell of Victoria; Liam Parsons of Thunder Bay, Ont.; Jon Beare of Toronto; and Mike Lewis of Victoria.