U.S. Coach Disappointed With Team’s Performance
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) _ John Mooney and Peter Newton waited on the dock for the official results before conceding defeat at Lake Lanier.
The U.S. Olympic canoe and kayak team had five boats competing Thursday, and all failed to advance past the semifinals.
``We didn’t perform in front of the home crowd the way I would’ve liked,″ U.S. coach Reg Hatch said. ``It’s disappointing.″
Mooney and Newton came close to the fourth place they needed to qualify for a chance at a medal, but they were edged at the finish line by Australians Peter Scott and Grant Leury in the 1,000-meter two-man race.
``I don’t really want to relive that one too many times,″ Hatch said. ``That’s painful.″
The Americans will have five more boats in semifinal events Friday _ five more chances to get into medal position.
``Keep your fingers crossed, but the K-2 is still our best chance,″ Hatch said.
He was referring to the two-man, 500-meter kayak tandem of Mooney, of Eugene, Ore., and Steve Jorgensen, of San Diego. They are the defending world champions at 200 meters, which isn’t an Olympic event.
Also Thursday: two-time Olympian Mike Harbold, of Honolulu, was seventh in the 1,000-meter kayak semifinals; team captain Joseph Harper, of Ventura, Calif., finished last in the 1,000-meter canoe; the four-woman kayak team, needing a second-place finish, ended up fourth, and the four-man kayak crew came in last.
``I think they performed at their upper limit,″ Hatch said, ``and I hope our development program will now fill in the void between where we are and where we need to go to.″
Australia, which qualified eight boats for the Olympics, reached the finals with all four of its entrants, including defending gold medalist Clint Robinson in the 1,000-meter kayak.
Italy also has five boats likely to pick up medals this weekend.
The U.S. team’s own medal hopes now rest with two boats.
In addition to the Mooney-Jorgensen pair, Jim Terrell of Milford, Ohio, is considered a contender in the 500-meter canoe.
Hatch also thinks the two-woman kayak team of Lia Rousset, of Newport Beach, Calif., and DeAnne Hemmens, of Costa Mesa, Calif., received an easy draw for Friday’s semifinals.