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Row to Tokyo update

Sometimes, good news comes as a surprise - like when a Canadian lightweight women’s double suddenly, unexpectedly, is given a spot in the Olympics. Exactly that happened recently when New Zealand withdrew its entry from that competition, leaving the spot open for the next qualified boat. Because of Covid, the next highest placed boat from the 2019 World Rowing Championships which had not already qualified a LW2x now has a chance to compete in the Olympics (yes, everything is more complicated these days!). That boat is the Canadian team of lightweight rowers Jennifer Casson and Jill Moffatt, who placed eighth overall at the 2019 World Rowing Championships, just missing out on securing a spot for Tokyo. They have now earned that spot.

That means that seven Canadian boats have qualified to line up in Tokyo - Women’s single sculls (Wx1), Women’s Pair (W2-), Men’s Pair (M2-), Women’s Double Sculls (W2x), Women’s Four (W4-), Women’s lightweight double sculls (LW2x) and the Women’s Eight (W8+).

But wait, there is more! The final Olympic Qualification regatta took place in Lucerne, Switzerland this weekend. Finals were held merely two hours after the semi-finals due to the threat of inclement weather. The Canadian team had a spectacular performance during the semifinals and finals, qualifying all three crews for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The men’s four kicked things off against their top competitors from South Africa and France. With South Africa off to a fast start, the crew, led by Will Crothers (Kingston Rowing Club) had to power down throughout the middle of the race. Supported by Jakub Buczek (St. Catharines Rowing Club), Gavin Stone (Argonaut Rowing Club/Queen’s University) and Luke Gadsdon (Leander Boat Club/Brock University), they successfully opened up water ahead of France to finish in second. Trevor Jones (Peterborough Rowing Club) was next in the men’s single sculls, where he faced a challenging battle with scullers from Russia and Poland. With two crews already through, it was the lightweight men’s turn in the double sculls. Maxwell Lattimer (UBC Rowing Club) and Patrick Keane (Victoria City Rowing Club/UVic Rowing Club) did not disappoint. As the sky broke open and rain poured down, they came storming through the finish line ahead of the Czech Republic to secure the top spot.

This brings Canada’s total to ten qualified boats – the largest contingent since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Stay tuned for the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta, which has been rescheduled to June 3 to 5, 2021, in Gavirate, Italy. And, of course, the main event: The 2020 Olympics will take place in Tokyo Japan from July 23 - August 8, 2021, followed by the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5, 2021.


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