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Beasley Survives Poor Start to Qualify For Semifinals

July 23, 1996

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) _ Cyrus Beasley made a mistake Tuesday in the most important race of his life. So he just chilled, then caught up.

After his right oar grabbed too much water and messed up his start in the men’s single sculls’ repechage, Beasley recovered to edge Italy’s Giovanni Calabrese for second place.

Only the top two finishers advance to Thursday’s semifinal.

``I’ve been in this position before so it didn’t bother me much,″ Beasley said. ``I just relaxed ... and tried working my way back by inches.″

Beasley, 24, of Newburyport, Conn., made the same mistake Sunday and finished third. That forced him to row in Tuesday’s repechage, or second-chance race, but he said he felt ready to race once he rowed his boat into his lane.

He said rough water caused his oar to slice into the water the wrong way, nearly tipping his boat during his starting sequence. He quickly fell behind Calabrese and heat winner Sergio Fernandez of Argentina. But Beasley rowed smoothly and caught up to Calabrese at the 1,000-meter mark.

``From then on, it was back and forth. I was making moves, he was making moves,″ Beasley said. ``At 1,500 meters, it was a matter of who had more left to give. The crowd was amazing. I could almost feel the roar. It helped me out a lot.″

He finished ninth at last year’s world championships but was sixth at a tuneup regatta in Lucerne last month.

He concentrated on simply rowing hard through the final 250 meters and trying to keep Calabrese in front of him.

``I thought `I’m not going to let my Olympic career end now.′ I gave what I had to give to beat Calabrese to the finish line,″ Beasley said.

Canadian Silken Laumann, the 1991 world champion and 1992 bronze medalist, also found herself rowing in a repechage. She and Ruth Davidon of Arlington, Va., wasted no time in taking quick leads and easily winning their heats to move into Thursday’s semifinals.

``Eric Beinhocker (her coach and husband) told me to win, so I did,″ Davidon said. ``I also know that when you win you recover much more quickly, so I won to be ready for Thursday.″

Itzok Cop of Slovenia, the defending world champion in men’s single sculls, was forced to the repechage by finishing fifth Sunday. He reached the semifinals by leading throughout his heat.

Americans Michael Peterson of Glastonbury, Conn., and Adam Holland of Philadelphia advanced in coxless pairs by winning their race with the fastest time in three heats.

Canada’s Michael Forgeron and Todd Haallett won a photo finish to advance in double sculls. The Canadians edged Australians Peter Antonie, a 1992 gold medalist, and Jason Day in the second photo finish of the regatta.

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