The U.S. women's eight team practices at the 2016 Olympic women's team camp on July 13, 2016 in Hanover, N.H.
It is likely that the crew members of the United States women’s rowing eight have the date of Aug. 13 circled on their calendars – it is the day of their date with destiny, the Olympic final on the waters of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.
Having won gold at the past two Olympic Games, winning a third straight championship would match the feat accomplished by Romania’s women’s eight from 1996 to 2004. However, a deeper drill-down shows that the dominance of the U.S. eight in recent years surpasses that of any nation ever.
The last time the U.S. was not the first boat to the finish line at either a world championship or Olympic Games was 2005, when Australia took gold and the U.S. placed fourth at the world championships. Since then, Americans have occupied the highest step of the podium, a string of 10 consecutive gold medals that includes eight world titles. While it was winning its three Olympic gold medals, Romania only won four world championships.
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Even more remarkable is how the U.S. has maintained its dominance with a changing cast of characters. Only one rower on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Eight Rowing Team, Stanford University graduate Elle Logan, has been part of the gold medal crews in Beijing and London. Romania had a core group of three rowers take part in its three Olympic victories: Doina Ignat, Elena Georgescu and Elisabeta Oleniuc-Lipa, history’s most decorated Olympic rower (five golds, two silvers and a bronze dating back to the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games). Should the U.S. win in Rio, Logan, who was named the Pac-12 Rower of the Century earlier this year, will join the three Romanians as the only three-time Olympic women’s eight champions.
Joining Logan in the women’s eight in Rio is Amanda Elmore, Tessa Gobbo, Meghan Musnicki, Amanda Polk, Emily Regan, Lauren Schmetterling, Kerry Simmonds and coxswain Katelin Snyder. Musnicki was part of the gold-medal-winning eight in London.