Will Dean and his Canadian teammates headed to the 2015 Pan American Games in good form and with high expectations.
The 28-year-old from Kelowna and the Canadian men’s quad sculls crew delivered just as hoped on Tuesday morning with a gold medal performance in St. Catharines, Ont., site of the rowing competition.
Joined by Matthew Buie of Duntroon, Ont., Julien Bahain of Sherbrooke, Que., and Rob Gibson of Kingston, Ont., Dean and the Canadian boat led from start to finish, winning in a time of five minutes 42.22 seconds.
It was Dean’s first international medal on Canadian soil and came in front of family, friends and a throng of supportive fans.
“There were a lot of emotions and just so much relief when we crossed the finish line,” Dean told the Capital News shortly after the race. “I really feel tons of gratitude, having the chance to race in front of Canadians like we did. I can’t say how neat it was, you think a lot about it, but until you do it, you don’t know just how special it is.
“My family was there, there were tons of people in the crowd,” Dean added. “It was so cool.”
Cuba won silver in 5:44.39, while Argentina won bronze in 5:47.14.
Dean will pursue his second medal of the games Wednesday when he rows for Canada in the final of the men’s eight.