The men's eight put a golden finish on the final race of the day at the 2002 FISA World Rowing Championships in Seville, Spain (Sept. 15 to 22).
The Canadian eight - 10 years after an Olympic gold in Barcelona in this event - dominated the race, and edged out Germany and the U.S. for the coveted win.
"It's just wonderful. To see that we were in the lead from early in the race was a nice surprise," said men's coach Mike Spracklen, who also coached the 1992 crew. "Then we got into our pace and I knew we'd get there first, but I couldn't wait - I wanted it to go faster."
Coxswain Brian Price, who had missed a few crucial days of training this week due to illness, was elated at his crew's performance. "I didn't feel any pain once I got out there - I was psyched," said Price. "We dropped the field at around the 1000-metre mark and then just went for it." The winning time was 5:26.92.
Members of the men's eight are Brian Price of Belleville, Ont. (coxswain), Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C., Joe Stankevicius of Dundas, Ont., Andrew Hoskins of Edmonton, Alta., Adam Kreek of London, Ont., Jeff Powell of Winnipeg, Man., Ben Rutledge of Cranbrook, B.C., Kyle Hamilton of Richmond, B.C. and Matt Swick of St. Catharines, Ont.
The men have had a stellar season - winning at Britain's Henley Royal, picking up a bronze at the World Cup and now winning a World Championship gold - a first for Canada.
Stroke of the eight, Jeff Powell, said the crew was in the right frame of mind to take charge of the race. "We just talked a lot about focus to prepare, and our goal was to follow through. We executed our plan really well today!"
The gold was Canada's second medal of the day. The lightweight four of Iain Brambell of Brentwood Bay, B.C., Jon Mandick of Edmonton, Alta., Gavin Hassett of Victoria, B.C., and Doug Vandor of Dewittville, Que. got a bronze medal in a time of 5:50.55 in a hard-fought race that saw Denmark (5:47.21) and Italy (5:49.41) pick up gold and silver.
"It took them (Canada) until the second 1000 (of 2000 metres) to get going," said lightweight coach Terry Paul. "Once they settled down, they made a move on the Aussies. They held in there and got a result and that is what's important."
"It feels amazing," said Doug Vandor of his first World Championship medal. "The Danes got off to a phenomenal start, but we just kept our heads in the boat and kept going - that's where we did well. We did what we had to do."
Jon Beare of Toronto, Ont. and Chris Davidson of Oakville, Ont., who teamed up in the lightweight men's pair, finished fourth overall after this morning's final that saw the Chilean pair beat a world's best time in this event. Chile won in 6:29.97, with Italy in second in 6:31.94, Great Britain in 6:34.40 and Canada in 6:39.83, followed by the U.S. and Ireland.
"We were out-gunned in the third 500 metres," said Chris Davidson. "We needed to take it up a notch, it's getting faster out there. We did what we could, but it just wasn't enough."
The women's eight finished sixth in the World in a time of 6:11.62. Members of the eight are Sarah Pape of Toronto, Ont., Pauline VanRoessel of Bow Island, Alta., Dorota Urbaniak of Toronto, Ont., Rachelle deJong of Regina, Sask., Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C., Katy Dunnet of Vancouver, B.C., Jacqui Cook of Burlington, Ont., Karen Clark of Delta, B.C. and Roslyn MacLeod of Burlington, Ont. The U.S., Australia and Germany took gold, silver and bronze in this event.
In the lightweight women's double event today, Fiona Milne of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. and Shona McLaren of Victoria, B.C. were less than a second (.06) off of winning the B final. Canada led for much of the race, but the U.S. boat won in 7:07.33, followed by Canada in 7:07.49 and France in 7:14.86. Canada ended up eighth overall.
In their semi on Friday, the lightweight double also missed a place in the medal round by less than a second. "Again, I feel we had a good race. We did what we set out to do, but the U.S. made a big move in the third 500 metres, and we didn't have the sprint to hold them off," said Fiona Milne. "The field is so much more competitive, even over last year. We have to work through the winter on improving our base speed."
Yesterday the heavyweight women's pair and four picked up silver. Canada won a total of four medals at these Worlds - compared with last year's single bronze.
Canadian Results (in order of racing) - Sept. 22/02 FISA World Rowing Championships - Seville, Spain
Lightweight women's double (final B) 1. USA 07:07.33 2. CAN 07:07.49 3. FRA 07:14.86 4. GRE 07:16.23 5. FIN 07:16.45 6. ROM 07:16.68
Lighweight men's pair (final A) 1. CHI 06:29.97 2. ITA 06:31.94 3. GBR 06:34.40 4. CAN 06:39.83 5. USA 06:41.43 6. IRL 06:45.67
Lightweight men's four (final A) 1. DEN 05:47.21 2. ITA 05:49.41 3. CAN 05:50.55 4. AUS 05:51.74 5. GER 05:52.47 6. FRA 05:58.70
Women's eight (final A) 1. USA 06:04.25 2. AUS 06:05.10 3. GER 06:05.19 4. ROM 06:10.65 5. BLR 06:11.18 6. CAN 06:11.62
Men's eight (final A) 1. CAN 05:26.92 2. GER 05:28.16 3. USA 05:29.27 4. CRO 05:31.96 5. ITA 05:33.48 6. GBR 05:35.78
Full results can be found at www.worldrowing.com Canadian updates at http://www.rowingcanada.org/en/news/index.html --
Jackie Skender - Rowing Canada Aviron