Rowers Patricia Obee and Lindsay Jennerich are the latest Canadians to show it doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.
And now they’ve got an Olympic silver medal to show for it.
Obee and Jennerich were in fifth place at the halfway mark of Friday’s lightweight women’s double sculls final, a 2,000-metre race. They quickly moved into fourth, sitting behind the Netherlands, South Africa and China—and that’s when Obee knew the podium was in their sights.
“We’re in fourth and I thought, ‘we’re getting a medal for sure,’” said Obee, a 24-year-old from Victoria. “Our last 250 is so strong that I knew we were going to go through one (crew) at least. I could sense China and I could sense South Africa.”
Sure enough, they surged past China and South Africa in the race’s final stretch, finishing with a time of 7:05.88, just behind the Dutch duo of Ilse Paulis and Maaike Head (7:04.73).
But given the way the top two teams both rowed on the day, there was no shame in finishing second.
“It made me feel pretty good about getting a silver medal,” said Jennerich, a 34-year-old from Victoria. “It left us just finishing our last drops of gas.
“It felt like sprinting from the 1,000. I just felt like a machine, and Obee felt like a machine. I knew the person Obee is, having her know we were fourth and only going to get something more.”
It’s a first Olympic medal for both Obee and Jennerich, who finished seventh in this event at London 2012. But they’re not the first Canadians who’ve left it late in their event, en route to the podium in Rio.
Earlier this week, divers Meghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion waited until their final dive to get into medal position, while swimmer Penny Oleksiak’s now-famous closing ability at the end of races has gotten her onto the podium four times.