By Vikes Communications, with files from CBC
Victoria, BC – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s and women’s rowing program has produced four more Olympic medalists this week in Gabe Bergen, Doug Csima, Darcy Marquardt and Rachelle Viinberg (nee de Jong). Both the Canadian women’s and men’s eights earned silver medals for Canada at the London 2012 Olympics.
On Aug. 1 the Canadian men’s eight, consisting of UVic Vikes alumni Bergen and Csima captured the silver medal, overtaking Great Britain in the last 250-m. The Canadians finished in 5:48.75, just after the heavily favoured Germans who won gold with a time of 5:48.75.
The German crew has won every race they’ve entered in the past four years, while Canada has been focusing on rebuilding its Olympic crew. The Canadian eight had to battle their way through the repechage after coming dead last in their initial heat.
Since 2009, Bergen and Csima have rowed in Canadian men’s eight at the world championships and world cup. Bergen began rowing when he studied at UVic and Csima holds a masters degree in health and information science from UVic.
In the women’s eight final, the Americans and Canadians were expected to go head to head for gold. The Americans led the race from the start, but in the final 1000-m the Canadians closed in, finishing only a second behind the Olympic champions. The Americans won gold in a time of 6:10.59, while Canada claimed silver in a time of 6:12.06.
Learning to row in her first year at UVic, Marquart was part of the Canadian crew that finished fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Graduating from UVic with a bachelors of science in biology, Viinberg has rowed in the Canadian eight for the last three years.
In the Canadian lightweight double, UVic alum Lindsay Jennerich missed qualifying for the Olympic final.
In Olympic swimming UVic student Richard Weinberger, who took this year off for the Olympics, will compete for gold in the men’s 10km marathon Aug. 10, while Vike Ryan Cochrane, also taking the year off from the Vikes, will swim the 1500-m heat Aug. 3, with the final being the next day.