U.S. rowers Kristina Wagner and Gevvie Stone bump fists prior to a women’s double sculls heat at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Hours before the opening ceremony began Friday, a trio of U.S. rowers qualified for the next stage in their quest for Olympic gold.
Kara Kohler (UC Berkeley Rowing) in the women’s single sculls placed first in her heat, while Gevvie Stone (Princeton Rowing) and Kristina Wagner (Yale Rowing) placed second in their heat for the women’s double sculls.
Kohler previously won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics in the women’s quadruple sculls, but missed the cut for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Now back at the Olympic stage in the single sculls, Kohler will face steep competition from Ireland’s Sanita Puspure and the Russian Olympic Committee’s Hannah Prakatsen, both of whom finished first in their respective heats.
In the doubles, Stone and Wagner placed second behind the New Zealand boat of Brooke Donoghue and Hannah Osborne. A bevy of other nations look to medal in this event, with the Netherlands, Lithuania, Romania and Australia all finishing their heats in faster times than the U.S. and New Zealand.
Gevvie returns for her third Olympics appearance, her first in the double sculls after competing in the single sculls in 2012 and 2016. Having lost her place to Kohler during the single sculls trial in February, Stone partnered with Wagner and won the double sculls trials in April to punch their ticket for Tokyo.
Following the day's events, Japan welcomed everyone to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the opening ceremony.
Leading the US delegation were flag bearers Sue Bird (Connecticut Basketball) and Eddy Alvarez (Salt Lake Community College Baseball). Bird makes her fifth Olympics appearance and looks to add to her gold medal collection, having won gold at the last four editions of the Summer Games. Alvarez makes his second Olympics appearance but first in baseball, having won silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in men’s short track speed skating, and will look to bring home the gold medal in baseball’s return to the Olympic stage.
Looking ahead: Kohler will compete in the women’s single sculls quarterfinals next on Saturday at 10:00 pm EST. Stone and Wagner will compete in the women’s double sculls semi-finals on Saturday at 11:20 pm EST.
Quote of the day
“One cool thing is that some sports can practice right in the village, so you are not just seeing someone skateboard around, you are seeing someone who is competing in skateboarding in the Olympics skateboard around.” - Kristina Wagner to row2k.com’s Ed Hewitt.