Sep 1, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- Collegiate rowing is known for its eights rowing and that paid off on Sunday for a pair of former Wisconsin rowers.
Middleton, Wis., native Vicky Opitz helped the U.S. women's eight to its eighth consecutive world championship gold medal, while Ross James (DeKalb, Ill.) helped the men's eight to a bronze medal. The medal for the men's eight was its first world championship or Olympic medal since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
The lineup for the American women's eight at the world championships was nearly identical to the one earlier this summer that set a world fastest time. An injury the week leading up to the world championships forced a lineup change, but the U.S. dominance continued anyway.
The boat cruised to a victory by nearly five seconds, crossing the 2,000-meter finish line in 6:02.14. Second-place Romania finished in 6:07.04. Canada claimed bronze in 6:09.34.
In the men's eight, the Americans got off the start line last, according to USRowing.org. Still in contact with the field though in last place, Ross James and the Americans eventually passed Poland, Netherlands and France to take the bronze medal.
Great Britain took the title and the gold medal in 5:30.35, just edging defending Olympic champion Germany, which clocked a 5:30.89. The U.S. posted a time of 5:33.92.
The gold medal by Opitz and the bronze by Ross James gives former Badger rowers four medals at the 2013 World Rowing Championships. On Saturday, Kristin Hedstrom (Concord, Mass.) took home a silver medal in the women's lightweight double sculls, while Grant James (DeKalb, Ill.) equaled his brother's performance with a bronze medal in the men's four. A fifth Badger, Andrew Gallagher (Phoenix), placed 13th in the men's quadruple sculls.
2013 World Rowing Championships
Chungju, South Korea
Aug. 25-Sept. 1
Women's Eight (Final)
1. USA, 6:02.14; 2. Romania, 6:07.04; 3. Canada, 6:09.34; 4. Great Britain, 6:11.80; 5. Australia, 6:12.30; 6. Netherlands, 6:18.60
UW Rowers - Vicky Opitz
Men's Eight (Final)
1. Great Britain, 5:30.35; 2. Germany,5:30.89; 3. USA, 5:33.925; 4. Poland, 5:35.59; 5. Netherlands, 5:37.11; 6. France, 5:37.19
UW Rowers - Ross James