Trials edition of the blog.
While it was hardly unexpected, it's still awesome that it's official. Gevvie earned the spot for the US with a 4th place finish at Worlds last year, and I certainly couldn't picture anyone else sitting at the starting line in Rio in the W1x. And while you obviously have to be very tough and work very hard to accomplish something this big, not everyone does it with as much genuine enjoyment of the journey. Well earned, and well deserved, Dr. Stone!
One's been a (rowing) household name since he was in high school, the other one didn't really become known until after he graduated from Dartmouth, but together Andrew and Josh have, for the first time in 16 years, qualified the LM2x for the Olympics at the World Championships. So once again, it's fitting that these guys will get to take the spot they earned on the starting line. Having come so close in 2012, I am sure Andrew is excited about Lucerne as only a World Cup destination.
This photo of Steve and Willy was actually taken at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Chula Vista. They came in second to a training center double (Stitt/Anderson), which chose to try to qualify the boat, instead of staying in the quad. So four years later, it's pretty awesome to see the same guys get the win that they have worked so hard to get. Lucerne is going to be tough, but they get to race for a spot on the line in Rio, and I hope that they get it. (Not pictured)Also congratulations to Meghan O'Leary and Ellen Tomek for winning the open double. They've taken ownership of the boat, and have been the double every year in this quadrennium. It's great to see that commitment pay off. Kate Bertko won trials in 2012, but declined a spot in the open double to focus on the quad camp, which she ultimately didn't make. Four years and three medals later, now racing as a lightweight with Devery Karz, she got to control her own destiny and will race at the Olympics. Two time Olympian in the single, Ken Jurkowski won the right to try to qualify the men's single for Rio in Lucerne. He did it once before in 2008, and I would never bet against him. Go get them, Ken! Finally, congratulations to the Craftsbury quad of John and Peter Graves, and Bens Dann and Davison. They too will make the trip to Lucerne, and once again, I hope that is not their final destination. And finally, finally, congratulations to Blake Haxton and Jacqui Kapinowski for their wins in arms and shoulders singles. Best of luck to all of you on your road to Rio.
Not everyone wins at trials. And coming in second at Olympic Trials is as much a testament to your determination as those who win. Unfortunately, with a lot less recognition. Hillary's been there twice, this time with Erin. She's been all over the country and all over the world trying to chase that seat in the double, and unfortunately, it's eluded her so far. But you don't have as many worlds medals as she does without being an amazing athlete.
Likewise, Nick and Austin have been amongst the top few lightweight scullers in the country this whole quadrennium. And they gave Josh and Andrew a damn good run for their money, but in the end, only one boat gets to go to Rio. For Austin, like Hillary, it's the second time he's been second at trials.
Finally, I first raced Tom(and Peter) Graves in 2002, in the double. That's a long time ago. Granted, Tom was in high school at the time, but still. We've know each other for a while. So even though I do have a great amount of respect for Ken, I was definitely rooting for Tom to win the final. Well rowed, Tom. And well rowed to everyone else who raced at these trials. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get there, so cheer.