Australia name 46-strong rowing squad hoping to claim "avalanche of medals" at London 2012
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
June 26 - Drew Ginn – seeking a fourth Olympic gold – is the most illustrious rower named in a 46-strong Australian team which is expected to be one of the toughest challengers to Team GB at the London 2012 rowing venue at Eton Dorney this summer.
Australia's rowers have been charged with the task of improving on the Beijing 2008 Olympic tally of two golds and a silver, and the five medals won at last year's World Championships, which were matched by five medals at the recent World Cup in Munich, suggest that is an achievable target.
For the home nation the challenge is most acute in the men's coxless fours, where the British flagship crew of Alex Gregory, who was in the victorious crew at the last World Championships, and three of the four who took Olympic gold in Beijing – Andy Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed and Tom James – were beaten by their Australian counterparts in the semis and final in Munich.
This year's Australian coxless four includes Ginn (pictured top).
After winning gold in the men's four in 1996 and gold in the pair in 2004 and 2008, he is back and ready for a showdown with Great Britain alongside Joshua Dunkley-Smith (pictured below, far left), James Chapman (pictured below, second right) and Will Lockwood (pictured below, far right).
"It's obviously something I am aware of but not a focus or part of what drives me and our crew," Ginn said.
"The most important thing is that we as a crew have our best race in London – that will be satisfying.
"Anything else is icing on the cake.
"We are very happy with our crew.
"We are all keen on making the most of the opportunity.
"We came together well and will race as hard as we can and represent the team and Australia the best we can."
Sarah Tait (pictured above), the women's team captain, added: "Many of our crews had very positive performances in the final World Cup.
Speaking of the European Training Centre in Varese, Italy, she said: "We know that our training base in Italy is something special that other countries do not have, and that it can be the difference for our crews to get those extra few seconds of boat speed in the next five weeks.
"I hope to see that every crew in London is able to piece together their best race on finals day, and if that happens we will have an avalanche of medals.
"It is a very exciting prospect."
The story of the Games so far for Australian rowing has been the qualification of the women's eight at the sudden death regatta in Lucerne in May.
The self-titled "Motley Crew" (pictured above) includes Renee Chatterton, Sarah Cook, Tess Gerrand, Alex Hagan, Sally Kehoe, Robyn Selby Smith, Phoebe Stanley, Hannah Vermeersch and coxswain Lizzy Patrick.
Scott Brennan and David Crawshay enter the Games as defending Olympic Champions in the double scull.
Five-time Olympian Anthony Edwards had won a combined total of seven Olympic and World Championship silver and bronze medals until he struck gold in his final World Championship appearance last year.
In London the 39-year-old lines up in the men's lightweight four alongside Todd Skipworth, Ben Cureton and Sam Beltz in an attempt to complete the trophy cabinet with Olympic gold.
Kim Crow is also out to create history as one of a select few Olympians to contest two events at the one Games.
Crow secured a single scull quota place when double scull partner Brooke Pratley was in doubt with injury as a Games insurance policy.
Pratley's return to the boat was heralded with a silver medal at the Munich World Cup behind the British world champions.
"I am incredibly excited to sit on the start line in the double with Brooke," Crow (pictured above) said.
"When I see how far we have come in a couple of weeks, I get tingles thinking about the glide of the boat after another training block.
"The single is a whole different challenge and one I am looking forward to seeing what I am made of."
June 2012: Flagship four holed by Australia in Munich as Britain settle for three golds
June 2012: Aussies impart "kick up the backside" for Britain's flagship four at Munich World Cup