London 2012: Crew quartet continues U. tradition
Caroline Lind ’06 returned to compete for the U.S. women’s eight after winning gold in the same event in Beijing 2008. With Lind in seven seat, the American women edged out Canada and the Netherlands to finish first with a time of six minutes, 10.59 seconds, giving Lind her second consecutive gold medal. Lind is the first Princetonian rower to win multiple Olympic medals.
Two more Princeton alumni, Adreanne Morin ’06 and Lauren Wilkinson ’11, propelled the Canadian women’s eight to a second-place finish in 6:12.06. London’s result was a huge improvement for the squad, which missed the medal stand by less than a second in Beijing.
“I knew we had a very realistic chance of medaling, but at the Olympics, there are always dark horses and surprising results,” Morin said. “It was a matter of executing what we had practiced for the past two years. Our crew did just that — raced with gusto and executed what we had set out to do. We are immensely proud of the training regime we have had to endure to win an Olympic silver medal.”
As for the men, Glenn Ochal ’08 took a bronze medal with the U.S. men’s four, which finished in 6:07.20. The medal was especially impressive considering USA did not even place a team in the A final in Beijing. Ochal credited the team members’ intense training for putting them on the podium.
“During the race we raced as we had in practice,” Ochal said. “Some people think that it is the Olympics and its the biggest stage and you need to go 200 percent, but this is not the case. We were coached to trust in our training and our rowing, and that would get us to the finish line the fastest. About three-quarters of the way through the race, I looked up and could tell we were clearly in bronze medal position, and that all we needed to do was sprint it to the line.”
In two heartbreaking and exceptionally close races, two Princetonians narrowly missed the medal stand. Sarah Hendershot ’10 and her teammate took fourth by just .2 seconds in the final of the women’s coxless pair. Meanwhile, the Australian men’s eight and Sam Loch ’06 finished last in the six-boat A final, but the placement was deceptive — the Australian boat finished just .5 seconds after bronze-medalist Great Britain.
American Gevvie Stone ’07 finished first in the B final of the women’s single sculls, while recent graduate Robin Prendes ’11 finished in eighth with the U.S. men’s lightweight four.
For all of the Princeton alumni who earned the right to take part in the Olympics, those two weeks marked the culmination of a long, grueling journey.
“It’s hard training, no doubt about it. Probably the hardest I have ever trained,” Morin said. “Three times a day, six days a week and 50 weeks of the year, and every third or fourth workout is of high intensity. You are constantly exhausted.”
And crew demands more than physical training. For rowers, the 2,000m race is a mental game in itself.
“Having four years of training culminate in one six-minute race makes the whole situation pressure-packed,” Ochal said. “However, during the training, I worked with a solid group of guys who supported each other each day. We were all very dedicated to each other and the training and kept our goals short term, knowing the there is one huge goal in London.”
But in the end, a quartet of Tigers took home a priceless memento.
“I was thrilled to finally have that material proof of what I had been working so hard for,” Morin said. “I’ve always cherished the Olympic journey, the victorious moments and the downs of sport, but to share those few minutes with my teammates on the podium was very special.”
The 2012 Olympics was a special time for the athletes to witness other athletes who love their sports all vying for the gold, reflecting the Olympic spirit that each of them brought to London.
“I saw basketball, volleyball and gymnastics,” Ochal said. “It’s pretty awesome to see a sport’s best athletes compete. Nothing else like it in the world.”
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.