Andrew Byrnes ’05 and Canada win men’s eight heat at Olympics
|Andrew Byrnes ’05 (top left) and the rest of Canada’s men’s eight, shown after winning the gold medal at the 2008 Rowing World Cup in Switzerland. (Rowing Canada Aviron photo)|
BEIXIAOYING TOWN, China — Bates College graduate Andrew Byrnes and the Canada men’s eight won its preliminary heat on Monday, boosting the boat’s chances for an Olympic medal.
Byrnes, a Toronto resident and a 2005 Bates graduate, and his teammates covered the 2,000 meters in 5:27.69 in Heat 1, easily fighting off runner-up Poland (5:34.95). The Netherlands (which won silver in 2004) was third in 5:40.43, followed by Australia in 6:55.59.
Great Britain took Heat 2 in a time of 5:25.89, fighting off the United States (5:29.60), which won the gold medal in 2004.
The Canadians’ performance earned them the right to skip the repechage (second-chance heat) and advance to Sunday’s final, along with Great Britain. The U.S., China, Poland and the Netherlands will go to the repechage to vie for the two remaining spots in the final (Sunday, Aug. 17, 5:30 a.m. ET).
The men’s eights heats were scheduled for Sunday, but were postponed due to a thunderstorm at the Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park, 30 kilometers outside of Beijing.
Canada is gunning for its first Olympic medal in men’s eight since winning gold in 1992. Byrnes’ ascendance to the country’s top eight has coincided with an impressive run of success, including a gold medal in the 2007 FISA World Championships and three World Cup gold medals since 2007.
Byrnes, who was a standout rower at Bates, joins the list of former Bobcat athletes who have competed in the Olympics, and the second rower, after Mike Ferry ’97, who competed in the double sculls at Sydney in 2000. The Bates Olympians list includes Justin Freeman ’98, a Nordic skier for the U.S. at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, and Nordic skier Nancy Ingersoll Fiddler ’78, who competed at Calgary in 1988. Harlan Holden, a member of the Class of 1913 who attended Bates for two years, competed in the half mile at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm (Read the article about him in the August 10, 2008 Worcester Telegram & Gazette), while his Bates teammate Vaughn Blanchard ’12 competed in the 110-meter hurdles at Stockholm. Runner Arnold Adams ’33 was a member of the U.S. team at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics but did not compete due to a foot injury.
Canadian Men’s Eight
Brian Price, Belleville, Ontario, Quinte RC
Kyle Hamilton, Richmond, B.C., University of British Columbia
Adam Kreek, London, Ontario, London Rowing Club
Dominic Seiterle, Victoria, B.C., Delta Deas RC
Malcolm Howard, Victoria, B.C., Brentwood College RC
Jake Wetzel, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Lake Louise RC
Andrew Byrnes, Toronto, Ontario, North Star RC
Ben Rutledge, Cranbrook, B.C., UBC
Kevin Light, Sidney, B.C., Victoria City RC