Kelowna's Will Dean and his Canadian teammates will compete this summer in Rio.

Kelowna rower locks up berth to Rio

Kelowna News: Will Dean and Canadian quad scull teammates deliver under pressure in Switzerland to qualify for this summer's Olympics

Will Dean and his Canadian teammates were down to one last chance to get to Rio.

And with their backs firmly against the wall Tuesday in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Canadian men’s quadruple sculls crew delivered one of its finest performances yet.

Dean, Julien Bahain, Pascal Lussier and Rob Gibson rowed their way to a second-place finish against six other crews to qualify for the last available spot at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Canada finished second only to Russia, and 3.7 seconds ahead of New Zealand for the coveted final berth.

With the reality of the accomplishment still sinking in 24 hours later, Dean said lifting the weight of expectations from his team’s shoulders was an immense relief.

“It was a whole year of a lot of tension, and you try and reduce the pressure the best you can,” said Dean, 28. “You really just block (Olympics) it out and focus on the next race, nothing more. You’re not thinking emotionally, you’re just doing the physical things you need to do.

“When it happens and you’ve done it, it’s such an emotional relief.”

The Canadian crew’s previous attempt at qualifying for Rio at the 2015 world rowing championships in France was met with disappointment, as they finished in 10th place out of 14 boats. While the top eight teams moved on to Rio, Canada had to go back to the grindstone and prepare for one last try.

Dean said it may have been just the right recipe for success.

“We didn’t have a good race (at worlds) and it was disappointing and stressful,” said Dean, who won two gold medals for Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games. “I think we had a chip on our shoulder from that, we were backed into a corner and it was good for us.

“There was desperation in (Lucerne) and we put together our best race as a crew.”

Now that Dean has had at least little time to absorb the reality of his team’s achievement, the gravity and importance of competing at the Olympics clearly isn’t lost on the KSS grad.

“We’ve worked for this for so long, so to get there is really validation for the time and effort we’ve put into it,” he said. “It’s the Olympics, so what else can you say ? The fun part will be testing ourselves against the world.”

As for representing Canada at the world’s most renowned sporting event, Dean is humbled to be getting the opportunity.

“I’m privileged to be representing Canada,” he said, “not very many people are as lucky as we are to do this.

“Canada is such a supportive place to be from, everybody has your back.

“And there’s no better community to be from than Kelowna. I’ve been getting lots of messages from back home. It’s so nice to have so many people in your corner.”

In Brazil this summer, Dean and all of his Canadian Olympic teammates will be exposed to the country’s current social and political problems.

Polluted water, an unstable government and the Zika virus have all been topics of concern leading up to the games.

While the situation is regrettable, Dean is hopeful something good can come from the rest of the world’s exposure to Brazil’s troubles.

“The political climate there is nothing new, there have been similar problems, social or political, wherever games are held. It’s good that questions are being asked and maybe we can demand more of institutions to take some action.

“If Brazil is able to get clean water for its people, then that’s something good that can come from this,” Dean  added. “If we can focus on what can be fixed in these countries, then that’s more important than the Olympics and whether we have clean water to row in.”

Dean and the Canadian quad crew will be back on the water this weekend in Switzerland for World Cup II.

The foursome will then train in Victoria, New Hamphire and Guelph, ON leading up to the start of the games.

The 2016 Olympic Games will begin Aug. 5 in Rio.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Kelowna Art Gallery members’ exhibition offers variety of media

Encounters will be held from Dec. 2 to Feb. 3

Vehicle with dog inside stolen from Oliver gas station

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

PIGS bring Pink Floyd sound to Kelowna

Victoria band pays tribute to iconic British band on Feb. 10 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Letter: Another flagger dies; when will you slow down?

You have all seen our signs, trucks and my favorite our cones. Why don’t you slow down?

Kelowna-developed technology to be unveiled at Summerhill

Kelowna winery and tech company introduces new technology for phone or tablet

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

Most Read