Terrell Qualifies Again, Herbert Loses But May Still Go to Olympics
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) _ Jim Terrell easily won the canoe 500 meters Sunday and qualified for a second event at the 1996 Olympics. Mike Herbert lost his kayak race by inches but still may go to his third games.
The U.S. team was finalized at this weekend’s Olympic hemispheric qualifier, but a spokeswoman said another member could be added later in the week. Adding someone to the team is possible under U.S. Canoe and Kayak rules that also consider past performances.
Herbert, who just missed a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics and also competed in 1992, was the favorite Sunday in the kayak 500 meters sprint. He led early into a strong headwind before being caught and finishing third behind Canada’s Renn Crichlow and Javier Correa of Argentina.
``I knew he was close the whole way, and I decided to give it my best shot and see what happens at the finish line,″ said Herbert, 34, of Rogers, Ark.
Eight countries had their last chance Sunday to qualify for the 1996 Games where only one boat per country per event can compete. The top two finishers in each event qualified for the Olympics.
The U.S. squad landed eight starting spots followed by Canada with five. Mexico placed four boats into the Olympics, Argentina and Cuba each had three and Brazil had one boat qualify.
The United States qualified 14 of 16 team members brought to this weekend’s event, which U.S. spring coach Reg Hatch called proof the U.S. program has rebounded from the early 1990s.
``That’s not bad for a country coming out of the wilderness, coming in from the cold,″ said Hatch, an Australian hired 18 months ago to coach the U.S. squad.
Terrell, 31, qualified for his fourth Olympics Saturday by placing second in the canoe 1,000 meters.
He had been focused on just trying to qualify for the games and said he was relieved to start looking toward the Olympics after beating Cuba’s Frank Balceiro by a half-canoe length in his favorite event, the 500 meters.
``It’s been the goal all along since I came out of retirement, but this week I had to back up and do what I wanted to do this week, to get through this week and kind of go from there,″ Terrell said.
Lisa Rousset, the youngest member of the U.S. squad at 18, qualified in two events. She will race as a member of the women’s kayak four and in the kayak pairs with DeAnne Hemmens, 31, also from Newport Beach, Calif.
Traci Phillips of Honolulu easily won the women’s kayak 500 meters, edging Mexico’s Erika Duron by half a kayak.
Mike Harbold of Honolulu already qualified the U.S. in the single kayak 1,000 meters thanks to a seventh-place finish at last year’s world championships.