Former Badger rowers Beau Hoopman (Plymouth, Wis.) and Micah Boyd (St. Paul, Minn.) finally opened their 2008 Olympic experience early Monday morning, United States time, rowing in the mens eight at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park.
Originally scheduled for Sunday morning, torrential downpours postponed the action one day.
When the action finally got underway, Hoopman and Boyd ended up second in their heat and will have to row in the repechage to make the gold medal race. The American boat started well and were even in the lead in the early going in heat two, but Great Britain jumped out to an open water lead through the middle portion of the 2000 meter race, gaining too much of a lead for the Americans to overcome.
Great Britain won the heat in 5:25.89, while the American eight was second in 5:29.60. Only the winner of each heat makes the final, while the remaining boats race in the repechage, which is a second chance for each country to make the final. China placed third in the heat in 5:35.09.
Canada won the first heat of the mens eight with a time of 5:27.69 to advance to the final. Poland (5:34.95) and Netherlands (5:40.43) completed the top three. Australia, one of the crews expected to compete for a medal, started strong in the first heat, but encountered a equipment malfunction that nearly caused the boat to crash into the Canadians. Instead, Canada put in a quick sprint to avoid the Australians and cruised to victory. Australia will try again to advance in the repecahge.
The repechage takes place Tuesday morning. The race will air live on USA Network and online at NBCOlympics.com between 3 and 4:50 a.m. CT. It appears the race is scheduled for 4:40 a.m. CT.