Local Olympian update: Rowers Shoop, Kok, Allen advance


Shoop (third from front, in red cap) will row for her first gold medal on Sunday.
REUTERS

7:03am update: Kok did not compete in the lightweight women's double sculls semifinals this morning. A thunderstorm forced Olympics officials to postpone competition to tomorrow.

Five days into the Games of the 29th Olympiad and Charlottesville's athletes are showing well in Beijing. All three former UVA rowers survived the initial round of heats and have advanced in their respective events. Charlottesville native Lindsay Shoop and the rest of the U.S. women's eight team rowed the second fastest time in the qualifying round, covering 2000 meters of Chinese waters in 6:06.43, just 0.76 seconds behind the Romanian team. Shoop and company will row for the gold on Sunday, August 17 at 5:10am EDT. NBC will tape delay the race and air it during their primetime coverage that night, starting at 7pm.

On the men's side, UVA alum Wyatt Allen advanced to the gold medal round along with the rest of the U.S. eight team team after turning in a time of 5:29.60 in the preliminary heats, third best behind Canada and Great Britain. Allen will take his shot at the gold medal right after Shoop takes hers, at 5:20am EDT, a race which will also be rebroadcast that night.

However, not every athlete with a tie to Charlottesville is competing for the red, white, and blue. Rower and UVA grad Melanie Kok advanced to the semifinals in women's lightweight double sculls wearing the red maple leaf of Canada. Along with teammate Tracy Cameron, the Canuck pair turned in a time of 6:54.07, good enough for fifth overall and enough to advance to the semifinals. She'll try to extend her Olympic experience to the gold medal round this morning at 3:30am EDT.

In other sports, former Cavalier Angela Hucles and the rest of the U.S. women's soccer team continue to roll through the competition. Save for a 2-0 loss to Norway in group play, the Americans have been impressive thus far, including Hucles, who notched a goal against New Zealand on Tuesday. Now that group play has concluded, the eight-team field for the gold medal tournament has been set, and the U.S. takes on Canada in the quarterfinals Friday, August 15 at 6am EDT.

Success has proven more elusive for former Wahoo Ruby Rojas and the Venezuelan softball team. The team lost 11-0 to the American squad on Tuesday, a game in which Rojas went 0-2 with two strikeouts, and ended after five innings due to the 10-run slaughter rule. Wednesday's 7-1 loss against China was slightly less lopsided, but Rojas still went 0-2. Rojas will get her swings in next this morning against Chinese Taipei at 7:30am EDT and then again against Canada on Saturday at 7:30am EDT.

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