Aug. 23, 2004
SCHINIAS, Greece - Former University of Washington rower Matt Deakin collected a gold medal Sunday, helping the United States win its first Olympic eight-oared championship in 40 years at the Summer Games in Greece. Husky women's rowing alumns Anna Mickelson and coxswain Mary Whipple received silver medals for their runner-up performance to Romania in the women's eight competition. The Americans finished 1.86 seconds behind champion Romania. The victory marked the first Olympic gold for a U.S. men's eight since Philadelphia's Vesper Boat Club won gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. The U.S. men's eight of coxswain, Pete Cipollone, (stroke) Bryan Volpenhein, (7) Beau Hoopman, (6) Dan Beery, (5) Matt Deakin, (4) Joey Hansen, (3) Chris Ahrens, (2) Wyatt Allen and (bow) Jason Read led from start to finish and held off a second-half surge by the Netherlands which won the silver after overcoming a slow start that left them in fifth position through the first 1,000 meters. The winning time for the U.S. was 5:42.48 followed by the Netherlands which finished just 1.27 seconds behind in 5:43.75. Australia won the bronze with a time of 5:45.38. Germany was fourth in 5:49.43 followed by Canada in 5:51.66 and France in 5:53.31. The U.S., which set a world's best time to win its qualifying heat last Sunday, established a lead from the start but after 500 meters held no more than a 0.91 second advantage over Germany, Canada and Australia. After 1,000 meters, the U.S. had opened its margin to 3.26 seconds over second place Australia, however only 0.70 seconds separated Australia, Canada and Germany for second position. Going into the final 500 meters the Netherlands had rowed through Germany, Australia and Canada to establish itself behind the U.S. as the silver medal crew. The U.S. women's eight skippered by Whipple finished 1.86 seconds behind Romania to win the Olympic silver medal.With Seattle's Lianne Nelson at stroke, Bellevue's Anna Mickelson pulling the six-oar and Kate Johnson of Portland, Ore. at bow, the U.S. got off to an early lead with just a quarter second advantage over Romania at the first 500 meter mark. The two crews battled bow-to-bow through the next 1,000 meters with the U.S. owning just a 0.26 second advantage at the mid-way point. With 500 meters remaining the Romanians moved on the U.S. taking a 0.83 second advantage. In the end, Romania won the gold by 1.86 seconds, crossing the line in 6:17.70 followed by the U.S. in 6:19.56. The Netherlands won the bronze in 6:19.85 followed by China, Germany and Australia. Mickelson and Whipple, both four-time senior national team members, were a part of the gold medal women's eight at the 2002 FISA World Rowing Championships. Former Washington rowers Erik Miller and Michael Callahan were spares on the U.S. squad. Callahan was recently hired to coach the men's freshman team at Washington.