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London Olympics: Rowing's 'Dream Team' repeats in women's eight

August 02, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • U.S. team celebrates after winning gold in the Women's Eight final at Eton Dorney.
U.S. team celebrates after winning gold in the Women's Eight final… ( Harry How )

LONDON -- They built a 1.5-second lead at 500 meters, expanded it to 2.34 seconds at the halfway mark, and the beauty of that dominance was that the U.S. women's eight didn't have to endure a nerve-racking, ultra-tight finish.

Try telling that to the athletes, and the friends and family on hand to watch at Eton Dorney on Thursday afternoon at the Olympic Games.

Normal breathing could resume only when the finish line was crossed and the U.S. team successfully defended its gold medal and kept a stunning  six-year unbeaten record intact.

The winning time for the United States was 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds -- 1.47 seconds ahead of second-place Canada. Canada moved ahead of the Netherlands by the 1,000-meter mark and stayed in that position. The Netherlands, which won silver in Beijing, took the bronze.

It was a slightly different U.S. lineup from four years ago. Six members of the Beijing crew -- coxswain Mary Whipple and rowers Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Elle Logan, Susan Francia and Erin Cafaro -- came back to defend the goal.

Newcomers were Meghan Musnicki, Taylor Ritzel and Esther Lofgren. Lofgren, who grew up in Orange County, started her rowing career in 1998 at the Newport Aquatic Center.

Davies had interrupted her law school studies at Columbia and talked about the decision-making process and her career in an interview with The Times before the Olympics.

One of her early coaches, Whitney Post, said in the interview, "I think rowing is in her soul."

Rowing in her soul and another gold medal in her hand.

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