July 26, 2012
Stanford Olympic Page
Olympic Rowing Schedule
STANFORD, Calif. - On the eve of the XXX Olympiad in London, Stanford Men's Rowing stands tall in the spotlight on the perch of Olympic glory. Four Stanford oarsmen will begin their quest for gold as oars hit the water Saturday, July 28 in Eton, England.
The quartet of David Banks '05, Jake Cornelius '05, Alex Osborne '09 and Silas Stafford '08 will represent the Cardinal at the Olympics, making Stanford the most-represented program on the U.S. men's rowing team.
"Stanford University Men's Crew has four men competing and rowing on the U.S. Olympic team, edging out the University of Washington's three for most men of any university," said Stanford men's rowing head coach Craig Amerkhanian. "This accomplishment is in fact unparalleled at Stanford. In 1956 Stanford had three rowers and one coxswain.
"Many people contributed to this great accomplishment," Amerkhanian continued. "The families of each of our men, their Stanford crew teammates, Stanford Athletics including Nate Peoples, Ted Leland, Debi Gore-Mann, Ray Purpur, Susan Burke, Beth Goode and Gary Hazelitt, University leaders like President John Hennessy and Jeff Wachtel and Stanford Alumnae and Friends such as Wieslaw Kudja, Tom Beischer, Ernest Gallo, Nick Farwell, Kent Mitchell, Andy Evans, and George Hume among many others. Our Olympians give us inspiration and energy to continue to work, explore and excel as we row for Stanford University."
Banks, making his second straight Olympic appearance, and Cornelius will row with the U.S. eight. After the eight's original crew failed to qualify for the Olympics through the World Championships nearly 10 months ago, Banks and Cornelius were among the new rowers brought on board for the last-chance Olympic Qualification Regatta. There, they helped power the new U.S. eight to victory and the final Olympic berth.
The U.S. eight crew went on to be named the United States Olympic Committee's Team of the Month for the month of May after that performance.
Banks rowed with the U.S. four at the Beijing Games in 2008, taking ninth.
"I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games for my country and my family," Banks said. "And I am always grateful from day one for the support of Stanford Men's Rowing and Stanford University in allowing me and my teammates to represent the United States of America."
Cornelius, making his Olympic debut, rowed internationally with the U.S. eight at the Under-23 World Championships in 2006, finishing fifth, and has made a pair of World Championship appearances (2009, 2010) with the eight.
"David and I have been friends for a decade now<" Cornelius said. "He has always pushed me to be better with his strong work ethic and relentless intensity. It's been a real privilege to train with him. The strength of Stanford Rowing on the national team speaks to the undeniable leadership of our Stanford coach, Craig Amerkhanian. David and many other internationally competitive oarsmen took their first strokes with Craig. He's been an invaluable part of our lives ever since we first got on an ergometer at the Ford Center. It is no coincidence that a relatively small program at Stanford has produced athletes that go on to compete internationally. We would not be where we are today without the discipline, dedication and desire Craig instilled in us as developing athletes."
Osborne is the second of Stanford's three Olympic rookies in 2012. The Sherman Oaks, Calif. native will row with the U.S. quadruple sculls for the first time in a major international competition in London. He had previously rowed with the eight at the World Championships last September, as well as competing at a pair of Under-23 World Championships for the U.S. eight, winning gold in 2008 and placing fourth in 2007.
While at Stanford, Osborne rowed in the Cardinal I Eight that captured IRA silver in 2007 and took fifth in 2008.
"It's hard to sum up what the Stanford family and Stanford Rowing means to me in just a couple sentences," Osborne noted. "Without the support of my parents and the unyielding inspiration that I received from my coaches I would have never been able to get here. The 'by any means necessary' attitude that has allowed me to represent our country and compete against the best in the world was given to me by Stanford rowing. The strength of this attitude is demonstrated by the fact that four of us, more than any other collegiate men's rowing program, will be competing at the London Olympic Games. Additionally, I know it will permeate my life long after I am done competing and is what I believe will ultimately lead to my long-term success. I am so grateful that I was able to experience the Stanford rowing culture that Craig created - it defines who I am, it builds winners."
Rounding out Stanford men's rowing's four Olympians is Stafford, who teams with Tom Peszek in the pair. The pair punched it's Olympic ticket by outlasting all other pair boats at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 14 in New Jersey.
A Santa Rosa, Calif. native, Stafford was part of a Stanford I Eight that took second nationally at the 2007 IRA Championship, and helped the Cardinal to Copley Cup wins in San Diego in 2006 and 2007.
"It is an honor to be among the talented members Team USA, and to represent Stanford, my hometown Santa Rosa, and my family," Stafford said. "The foundations of this journey were laid by the discipline and integrity of my parents and the example and support they gave me. This foundation was developed by rowing under Craig at Stanford, and finished by the generous support of many over the past three years. I am truly grateful, and am humbled by the grace and generosity shown to me.
"Being at the Olympics is the culmination of years of support, lessons in integrity, and discipline from Stanford and my parents," Stafford added.
The men's rowing competition begins Saturday, July 28. Banks and Cornelius will be first on the water amongst the quartet, as the U.S. eight rows in Heat 1 at 2:10 a.m. PT (10:10 a.m. local time) against Australia, Ukraine and Poland.
Osborne and the U.S. quad sculls compete in Heat 1 at 3:30 a.m. PT (12:30 a.m. local time) against Italy, Estonia, Russia and France.
Stafford and Peszek take on the pairs from The Netherlands, Canada and Australia in Heat 2 at 4 a.m. PT (12 p.m. local time).
The four Cardinal oarsmen in London represent the heart and determination of a program that annually goes head-to-head with the nation's heavyweights and lands heavy blows of its own. When the blades of Banks, Cornelius, Osborne and Stafford hit the water of Eton Saturday morning, they will row not only for themselves and their U.S. teammates, but also for their families, friends, Stanford coaches and all those who have supported them throughout their rowing careers.