The first day of competition on the Eton Dorney rowing complex is over, and so far it’s been a mixed bag of results for Harvard alumni out on the water.
The best result of the day came for Brodie Buckland ’06 of Australia in the men’s pair. Along with teammate James Marburg, Buckland came second in his heat, progressing the pair to the semifinals on Wednesday.
Buckland raced in the second heat of the day, but the first heat had the most excitement. Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand posted a world’s best time of 6:08.50, more than 15 seconds faster than Buckland and Marburg. If the Kiwis can keep this up it will be tough going for the rest of the field.
In the eight, Malcolm Howard ’05 and Canada had a solid dent put in their hopes to defend their Olympic Gold Medal, when they came last in their heat, being forced to duke it out with six other boats in the repechage on Monday. Thanks to the way the eight is configured, only the top finisher of each heat advances directly to the final. Canada dropped off significantly in the final 500 meters of the race, once the chances of catching leader Germany looked slim.
We can only speculate, but perhaps the veterans of the Canada boat made a conscious effort to conserve energy for Monday’s repechage—we’ll have to wait and see.
Finally, in the men’s lightweight four, Will Newell ’11 of Team USA finished last overall, forced into Sunday’s repechage against Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland. In the days leading up to the games Newell noted the tight competitiveness of this year’s lightweight four field, stating that “If we can make it into the A final I’m optimistic we can make something happen.” Tomorrow may be Newell and his Oklahoma City based boat’s last chance to do it.
At 5:15 this afternoon (10:15 London Time) you can watch Temi Fagbenle ’15 in action as the hosts, Great Britain, take on Australia on the opening night of the women’s basketball group stage.
It, as all events, will be available online at nbcolympics.com and on the NBC family of networks.
Stay tuned as we continue to bring you comprehensive coverage of Harvard's 2012 Olympians.