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US men's eight rowers: touching underdogs or also-ran mutts?

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If you haven't been following the drama of men's rowing, here's a quick recap in the wake of the men's eights. The USA used to dominate this event, but the entire sport is going through changes that this article touches upon very lightly. Basically it's less of a rich-boy Ivy League pursuit, more of a hard-core niche sport based on the West Coast.

The British Olympic rowing team, which won the Bronze medal for men's eights, received $43 million from public monies -- including the lottery! -- over the past 4 years. The American team, whose men's eight boat came in three-tenths of a second short, had an annual budget of between $2.5 and 3.5 million during the same period -- some of it derived from what amounted to bake sales.

Nevertheless, the US team was an appealing story with a gruff and eccentric coach who described his team thus:

"I think there's seven engineers in there, so they're kind of boring. They're methodical and systematic. It makes me kind of nervous. I'm an Italian guy from Philadelphia."

Wow, this sounds like one of those cases where money CAN buy happiness.

This sport needs a hero to dissociate its connection to the Winklevii.

I'm glad it's shifting to a hard core West coast based niche sport. A much needed change.

Thank you for the recap!

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