FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- New Canaan’s Andrew Campbell moved on to the finals in his rowing event at the Summer Olympics in Rio on Thursday, but Charlie Cole, also of New Canaan, saw his crew eliminated from medal contention.
Campbell and teammate Josh Konieczny finished second in their lightweight double sculls semifinal behind the favorites from France. They posted the second-fastest time among the six crews that advanced to the final, which will be held Friday at 9:44 a.m.
Cole, competing on the Men’s Coxless 4, finished fourth in their semifinal. Only the top three crews from the semifinals advance to the A final. The United States crew finished about 2.5 seconds behind the third place crew from Italy. Australia and South Africa also advanced to the semifinals from the race that included the U.S.
Two crews from the other semifinal, Canada and the Netherlands, posted slower times than the U.S., but they will race in the A final.
The outcome had to disappoint Cole, 30, who won a bronze medal in the 2012 Summer Games in London. This will likely be his last Olympics. The U.S. crew had been one of the medal favorites heading into the Olympics, which are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“It was a tough race. We wanted to go out for the lead, and we did that. We went out hard and better out of the gates than we did in the heat,” Cole told USRowing. “We’ll probably look back and wonder what we could have done differently, and there’s probably a lot of answers to that. But the crew wasn’t up to the standard, and we’ll have a lot of time to reflect on that. But that’s just the reality of it.”
Campbell, on the other hand, and Konieczny are a surprise. A Sports Illustrated story predicted medals for France, Norway and South Africa. Campbell and Konieczny posted a faster time than the latter two crews Thursday, and were less than half a second behind France. Norway did edge the U.S. in an earlier race.
"“This has been our goal since the very start,” Campbell told USRowing about making the "A" Final. “Making the A final was the thing (we talked about) when we first convened the Boston training group two years ago. That was our ultimate goal, and now we’re in. I guess I haven’t really thought beyond this point at all. We’ll figure it out.”
Campbell and Cole got their start at Maritime Training Club in Norwalk, where they trained under coach Yan Vengerovskiy.