Men's eight trained through snow and sleet for gold

Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:35am EDT
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By Kate Holton

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Canadian men's eight rowers, who won in Beijing after memorably failing four years ago, trained through the rain, sleet and snow to make sure they did not have to suffer defeat again.

Canada entered the Olympic Games four years ago as hot favorites and double world champions, but saw their hopes evaporate as they dropped off the pace, eventually finishing fifth.

On Sunday they took a half-length lead and held on to it until the finish. Britain won the silver and the United States the bronze.

"We trained so hard," said Adam Kreek, who also raced in the eight in Athens. "For six hours a day, every day, we put everything into this.

"You don't win a race on race day, you win it eight months, a year, two years in advance.

"We trained in the snow, in the hail. We rowed when our (boat) slides and bodies were frozen, when we couldn't see ahead of us because of the snow flurries, and there was cracked ice on the lake.

"Every single weather condition, nothing stopped us."

Canada's British coach Mike Spracklen, who is known for his extreme levels of training, said he was immensely proud of his crew after suffering the pain of Athens four years ago.   Continued...

<p>Members from Canada's men's eight rowing team celebrate their gold medal win at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>