STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford Rowing sent six current and former rowers to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and saw two of them come home with gold medals. Adam Kreek `06, rowing with Canada's Men's Eight, helped the Canadian crew to the gold with dominating efforts in both its qualifying heat as well as Final A. Elle Logan `10, part of the U.S. Women's Eight, helped the Americans claim gold for the first time since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
The two gold medals won by Kreek and Logan mark the first gold medals won by Stanford rowers since Kent Mitchell, Ed Ferry, and Conn Findlay captured the M2+ competition at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Overall, the two gold medals increase Stanford's collective Olympic haul to 11 golds (over six winning boats), two silvers (over two boats), and four bronze medals (over two boats).
"These are our our first gold medals since 1964, and clearly this exemplifies what college athletics is all about when student-athletes reach their pinnacles and perform at their optimums," said Stanford Director of Rowing and men's head coach Craig Amerkhanian. "Being proud does not even begin to say enough about how we here at Stanford feel about the effort, work, and integrity of Adam, David, Jamie, Elle, Lindsay, and Sabrina."
In addition to the gold medal-winning efforts of Kreek and Logan, Stanford rowers Lindsay Meyer `11 (U.S. Women's Quadruple Sculls) and Jamie Schroeder `05 (U.S. Men's Quadruple Sculls) each finished fifth, respectively, while David Banks `05 (U.S. Men's Four) and Sabrina Kolker `03 (Canada Women's Pair) each finished ninth, respectively.
Logan, participating in her first Olympic Games, helped the U.S. Women's Eight to a great start in the competition, capturing the opening heat on Aug. 11 in a time of 6:06.53, 2.15 seconds faster than Great Britain. The victory propelled the U.S. into Final A, where six days later, the American boat raced out to the early lead and never yielded, going wire-to-wire in a gold medal-winning time of 6:05.34 to defeat runner-up the Netherlands by 1.88 seconds and defending Olympic champion Romania by 1.91 seconds.
The victory was the first gold medal for the U.S. eight since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
"Five years ago I wasn't even rowing," Logan told worldrowing.com after the race. "I've never experienced this feeling before; I don't know what it is. I love the girls; I love that boat."
Kreek and the Canadian Men's Eight, burning for redemption after coming into the Athens Games as the favorite four years ago only to finish fifth, showed its fire with a 7.26-second victory in its qualifying heat last Monday. With six days off until the final, Canada rested up and returned to Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park Sunday, leading the final from start to finish and clocking a gold medal-winning time of 5:23.89, nearly a second and a half ahead of runner-up Great Britain and the third-place United States boat.
"It was great, awesome. We had to attack every single stroke and turn every negative thought positive," Kreek told worldrowing.com after the race. "It was a positive crew that won, and that was us! We felt like we were in control, but also in constant fear; but we managed to dispel the fear and be positive. The last 10 strokes were just pain and blackness. We are Olympic Champions! I felt pure joy flowing in my veins - I've worked eight years for this medal. We did this for Mike Spracklen, our coach. He was very emotional before the race."
Meyer and Schroeder, rowing for the U.S. Women's and Men's Quadruple Sculls boats, respectively, each turned in fifth-place finishes in the competition. Meyer, in her Olympic debut, and the women's quad sculls battled into Final A the hard way, taking second in the repechage with a time of 6:39.53 after finishing third in its opening heat.
In Final A, Meyer and the women's quad sculls took fifth, clocking a final time of 6:25.86.
Schroeder and the men's quad sculls boat, meanwhile, qualified for the semifinals with a third-place time of 5:45.77 in its opening heat. There, the U.S. boat finished second with a time of 5:52.81 to qualify for Final A. In the medal final, the U.S. got off the line sixth and could only manage to gain one spot over the 2,000-meter course, finishing fifth with a time of 5:47.64.
Banks (U.S. Men's Four) and Kolker (Canada Women's Pair) each had their respective boats finish ninth in the Olympic competition. Banks and the men's four finished third in Final B with a time of 6:07.17. Previously in the competition, the men's four advanced to the semifinal with a third-place finish in the first heat, clocking a time of 6:03.96. Yet in the semifinal, the U.S. could not advance to Final A, finishing fifth with a time of 5:57.52, just 0.79 seconds back of the third-place French boat which grabbed the final qualifying spot for Final A in a furious finish.
Kolker, with partner Zoe Hoskins, also finished third in Final B, with a time of 7:37.27. The boat had been found to be underweight in its opening heat, and in the repechage, finished fourth with a time of 7:40.22 and failed to reach Final A.