US Olympic Rowing Team 2012: Updated News & Analysis for America's Squad

Gil ImberAnalyst IIJune 20, 2012

US Olympic Rowing Team 2012: Updated News & Analysis for America's Squad

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    The U.S. Olympic rowing team is coming off a three-medal performance during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and will look to recapture some of its 2008 summer magic while attempting to chase down top performers Great Britain, Australia and Canada.

    An Olympic sport since Paris 1900, rowing is a head-to-head competition, not subject to the point-specific subtleties of equestrian nor the judging controversies of gymnastics.

    Though penalties may be assessed for false starts, leaving one's lane or impedance, rowing—like its brotherly sports of swimming and track—remains a race whose stopwatch crowns the winner.

    From heat No. 1 to final E, this is a look at Team USA's latest chances at the 2012 London Games.

Key Athletes

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    Team USA will field 42 athletes for the various rowing competitions at the London 2012 Games. Among the most notable are the men's and women's competitors for the single sculls:

    Ken Jurkowski (pictured)

    Finishing 11th in the men's single sculls at the 2008 Beijing Games, Jurkowski placed as high as ninth at the World Cups in 2005 and 2008 while helping the US men's eight win a bronze in 2006. Though Jurkowski will not be part of the men's eight in London, he will try to break into the Top 10 in the men's single sculls.

    Gevvie Stone

    After a flurry of domestic single sculls wins in 2010 and 2011, Stone will compete in her first Olympic Games after placing third with Princeton University in the NCAA varsity eight in 2006 on the heels of a second-place finish in 2005 and a win in both 2004 and '05. Despite her crew success, Stone will hit the water solo in London—given her win at the 2011 Senior World Championship Trials, Stone will be one to watch.

US Chances and Challengers in London

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    The 2012 rowing competition is picture perfect for host Great Britain.

    With a No. 1 unofficial ranking, the various British rowers will form a formidable challenge for all comers, including Team USA. From 2011 World U23 champion Katherine Copeland on single scull to World Champions Ric Egington, Matt Landridge, Tom James and Alex Gregory in the men's four, GB Rowing is clearly the team to beat in London.

    With the region surrounded by water on all sides, one might correctly surmise that proximity to lakes, rivers and channels might translate to a competitive advantage. According to composite rankings, Team USA is fifth overall behind Nos. 2-4 of Germany, New Zealand and Australia.

When to Watch

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    When: Both men's and women's rowing events will commence as early as July 28 with preliminary heats scattered through the end of the month. Medal heats begin on Aug. 1 with all champions decided by Saturday, Aug. 4. If necessary—due to weather or otherwise—Sunday, Aug. 5 may be used as a backup date.

    Times: Rowing events will begin daily at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time from July 28 through Aug. 4, ending by late morning each day. All medal races and ceremonies are expected to conclude by 8:30 a.m. ET during the August phase of competition.

    Television: NBC Universal and NBCOlympics.com are your homes for all Olympic Games coverage. 

    Venue Information: The Eton Dorney Rowing Centre at Dorney Lake is the beautiful setting that will be used for all rowing and canoe sprint events during the 2012 Olympic Games. The Centre is located 25 miles from London, though shuttles will transport visitors to and from the event, with a 15-20 minute walk from the drop-off point to the venue entrance.

Prediction

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    Great Britain will remain the team to beat in its own backyard—with 14 gold medals to dole out, this contest will be the host's to lose.

    As for Team USA, their composite ranking of No. 5 overall is greatly affected by the strength of the Italian and French men's teams; accordingly, it is the Team USA women who stand a chance to place with an unofficial world ranking of second overall.

    The American women won gold in the eight-plus-coxswain competition at the World Championships in Switzerland (2008), which was their sixth consecutive first place finish.

    As such, expect the U.S. women to jostle for another medal in 2012—especially in the larger events—though of the 14 events, Team USA may only win one or two.