Wetzel Takes Gold with Canada Men's 8 in Olympic Final
Aug. 17, 2008
BEIJING - California alumnus Jake Wetzel won the Olympic gold medal in the men's eight with Canada on Sunday at the Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park. Canada's top boat posted a time of 5:23.89 to surpass silver medalist Great Britain (5:25.11) and the bronze medalist boat from the United States (5:25.34) in the final rowing event of the 2008 Games.
Canada led at 500 meters, 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters but had to hild off the surging British and U.S. eights down the stretch.
Along with the gold medal won by former Bear Erin Cafaro with the U.S. women's eight and the silver medal won by former Cal star Natalie Coughlin with the U.S. 4x100-meter medley relay on Sunday, Cal has now won 12 Olympic medals in Beijing. If Cal were a country, that would rank the Bears 12th in the overall medal standings between Ukraine (14 medals) and the Netherlands (10).
A highly decorated international rower, who won gold in the eight for Canada at the 2008 Lucerne World Cup, Wetzel won a silver medal in Canada's four in the 2004 Athens Olympics. At Cal, he won national championships as part of the IRA-winning varsity eight in 1999, 2001 and 2002. A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Wetzel has competed for both national teams, placing seventh in the coxless pair in the 1998 World Championships for Canada and winning the four for the United States in the 1999 World Championships. In the 2000 Olympics, he took seventh place for the United States in the quadruple sculls. Wetzel rejoined his native country's team in 2003, winning the four in both the World Championships and Lucerne World Cup that year. In 2007, he and Canada won the eight at the Lucerne World Cup and the Henley Royal Regatta (Grand Challenge Cup).