Hoopman, Boyd make gold medal race


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Former Badgers Beau Hoopman (Plymouth, Wis.) and Micah Boyd (St. Paul, Minn.) helped the U.S. mens eight to a win in the repechage heat at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games at Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park outside of Beijing, China early Tuesday morning, United States time. The victory puts the Americans in Sundays gold medal race, where they will get a chance to defend their 2004 gold medal.

Like they did in their heat on Monday, the U.S. got a slight lead off the line in the early going, but also like the heat, it fell behind through the middle of the race. Great Britain took the lead in the first heat in the middle 1000 meters and won comfortably. In this mornings repechage, Australia took the lead in the middle section of the race, but the U.S. had a response this time.

The Americans ended up winning by about a half boat length in 5:38.95. Australia ended up second in 5:40.31. The top four boats in the repechage advance, so third-place Netherlands (5:42.62) and fourth-place Poland (5:42.92) also advanced to the final. Poland edged out China by just 0.05 seconds for the final spot.

The four will compete against pre-race favorite Canada, as well as Great Britain, for the medals on Sunday. The race is expected to air live on NBCOlympics.com at 4:30 a.m. CT. The event looks like it will be shown delayed between 9 and 11:30 a.m. CT, on NBC.

The Americans will race in lane 2, just inside Canada in lane 3.

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