The Men's VIII will join the list of US men's crews in the A Finals this year, winning their rep just ahead of NZ, and sending the Canadians to the B Final. So far the A Finals tally is two, not counting the boats in events with six entries or less (the Men's 2+, the LWT 4x and the LWT VIII). The 2-, 2x, LWT 4-, LWT 2x, LWT 2-, and the 1x have all landed themselves in the B Final, leaving the US men with four shots at the medals, and two chances at Olympic-class medals so far. This could grow to six chances at the podium, should Anderson and Ochal make the A Final in the 2x (another Olympic event), and should Urevick-Ackelsberg make the A Final in the LWT 1x (though in field with Jonathan Koch, Peter Chambers and Duncan Grant, medals will be tough to come by). The 2010 regatta is certainly an improvement from last year, when the US men were completely shut out of the A Finals in Olympic events, and finished second-to-last in the VIII -- an event in which they took the bronze medal only a year earlier in Beijing.
The finals in the VIII and the 4- will be hotly contested, and very much fun to watch (if the reps in the VIII and the 4- are any indication). It has been wonderful to see crews that McLaren has built over the past months succeed on the international level despite being virtually untested, and I'm looking forward to seeing how those crews take on the challenge of the A Finals in Karapiro -- 20 months to go until London. Once the racing is done and the medals are distributed, I'll take a look at the team's performance and rate it according to the criteria laid out in my article last week.