Aug. 31, 2014MADISON, Wis. --
It isn't as easy as it appears for former Wisconsin women's rower Vicky Opitz
(Middleton, Wis.). Making her second appearance on the U.S. national team, Opitz now owns two gold medals in the women's eight after the boat captured a ninth consecutive world championship on Sunday.
Opitz' gold capped the week for five former Badgers as the 2014 World Rowing Championships wrapped up on Sunday from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Three of five Badgers competing took home medals, including one gold, one silver and one bronze medal over the week-long event.
Heading into the women's eight final, it appeared it would be a battle between the U.S. and Canada for gold after both countries clocked identical times in the heats earlier this week. The race started as expected with both crews racing even through the first few hundred meters, but the Americans grabbed a slight lead and never looked back.
Opitz and the Americans won gold with a time of 5:56.83 over 2000 meters, with Canada grabbing the silver in 5:59.66. China claimed bronze in 6:00.52.
The victory extended the Americans world championships and Olympic winning streak to nine, last dropping a race in 2005.
"I would say (the race finals) are very different, because the boat dynamic changes, so it's fun to attempt to tap into the potential of that particular group of nine women," said Meghan Musnicki, who has won five gold medals in the women's eight including the 2012 London Olympics. "And no, it never gets old."
(Vicky Opitz center right with blue lens sunglasses)
On Saturday, 2012 Olympian Grant James (DeKalb, Ill.) captured silver in the men's four for the second consecutive year, while Grace Latz (Jackson, Mich.) won bronze in the women's quadruple sculls in her first international appearance. Also earlier this week, Kristin Hedstrom, a 2012 Olympian, finished seventh in the lightweight women's quadruple sculls and Andy Weiland placed fifth in the lightweight men's eight.