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Rowers keen to deliver an avalanche of medals

22 June 2012

The rowing section of the Australian Olympic Team has been announced today with 46 athletes off to the London Olympic Games. Australia’s “lucky 13” crews are charged with the task of lifting the Australian medal tally at the Eton Dorney rowing course.

At the 2008 Olympic Games Australia won two gold medals and one silver, but the 2012 crews are confident London could provide a rush of medals. The Australian crews won five medals at the 2011 World Championships last September and matched that with five medals at the World Cup in Munich over the weekend.

“Many of our crews had very positive performances in the final World Cup,” women’s team captain Sarah Tait said.

“We know that our training base in Italy is something special that other countries do not have, and that it can be the difference for our crews to get those extra few seconds of boat speed in the next five weeks,” she said of the European Training Centre in Varese, Italy.

“I hope to see that every crew in London is able to piece together their best race on finals day, and if that happens we will have an avalanche of medals. It is a very exciting prospect!”

The fairytale story of the Games so far has been the qualification of the women’s eight at the sudden death regatta in Lucerne in May. The self-titled "Motley Crew" includes Renee Chatterton, Sarah Cook, Tess Gerrand, Alex Hagan, Sally Kehoe, Robyn Selby Smith, Phoebe Stanley, Hannah Vermeersch and coxswain Lizzy Patrick.

But the fairytales are set to keep rolling on the rivers of London. Scott Brennan and David Crawshay enter the Games as defending Olympic Champions in the double scull, while Drew Ginn, the rower with the midas touch, is aiming for a fourth gold medal from four Olympic appearances.

After winning gold in the men’s four in 1996 and gold in the pair in 2004 and 2008, Ginn returns to the coxless four for a showdown with Great Britain alongside Joshua Dunkley-Smith, James Chapman and Will Lockwood. Fresh off a victory over their British foes at the World Cup in Munich, Ginn is focused on their performance rather than history.

“It’s obviously something I am aware of but not a focus or part of what drives me and our crew. The most important thing is that we as a crew have our best race in London- that will be satisfying. Anything else is icing on the cake,” he said.

“We are very happy with our crew. We are all keen on making the most of the opportunity. We came together well and will race as hard as we can and represent the team and Australia the best we can.”

In opposing circumstances, five-time Olympian Anthony Edwards had won a combined total of seven Olympic and World Championship silver and bronze medals until he struck gold in his final World Championship appearance last year.

In London the 39-year-old lines up in the men’s lightweight four alongside Todd Skipworth, Ben Cureton and Sam Beltz in an attempt to complete the trophy cabinet with Olympic gold.

“I respect my opposition, but ultimately I am there to win,” Edwards said.

“I know that when I am sitting in the starting line in London I will have an advantage over my opposition. I will be relaxed and in my favourite place ready to go one hundred per cent for the final time,” he said.

Kim Crow is also out to create history as one of a select few Olympians to contest two events at the one Games. Crow secured a single scull quota place when double scull partner Brooke Pratley was in doubt with injury as a Games insurance policy. Pratley’s return to the boat was heralded with a silver medal at the Munich World Cup behind the British World Champions.

“I am incredibly excited to sit on the start line in the double with Brooke. When I see how far we have come in a couple of weeks, I get tingles thinking about the glide of the boat after another training block!” an excited Crow said.

“The single is a whole different challenge and one I am looking forward to seeing what I am made of.”

To read Drew Ginn’s diary click here>>>

To see the athlete profiles click here>>>

For more information on rowing at London 2012 click here>>>

Taya Conomos

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