Canada's next medallist could be Porter
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- SLAM! Sports
PENRITH LAKES, Australia - Okay, so it's been a
struggle lately for Canada's Olympians. You're down
because since Simon Whitfield's gold in the triathlon
Sunday and Curtis Myden's bronze in the pool, Canada
has won as many medals as Equitorial Guinea.
There is hope.
All you needed was a look at Victoria, B.C.'s Derek
Porter cruise through his semifinal in the men's
single sculls Thursday.
Completely within himself.
"I had another gear today," he said after finishing
second to New Zealand's Rob Waddell in their
semifinal. "I wasn't going to expend the energy
catching Rob. If it was easy, I might have expended
"It was a semifinal effort, not a final effort. I've
got that other gear."
Like the rest of Canadians, Porter has been watching
the results for Team Canada. Like everybody else, he
knows they're not where anybody would like them to be.
Two medals at this point? That would be the worst case
But he can't worry about a country turning its eyes to
him to restore a little pride. That won't make him
stroke any harder.
"We've been in a bit of a lull these last few days,"
said Porter. "It's been a little down in the village.
We're not winning that many medals as a country. I
thought we would have picked up more by now. We
thought the swimmers would do really well and there
have been personal bests, but the world is a bit
"People are looking at the rowers generally to do
quite well, but some haven't qualified. Even the
rowers aren't getting through (to finals). It's a bad
But one that could be helped by the rowers. They are
not going to match their output of four years ago when
they won six medals in Atlanta.
In addition to Porter, the women's eights have
advanced to their final as have the women's pairs crew
of Emma Robinson of Winnipeg and Theresa Luke of 100
Mile House, B.C. The men's lightweight coxless fours
team of Iain Brambell and Gavin Hassett of Victoria,
B.C., Oakville, Ont.'s Chris Davidson and Toronto's
Jon Beare will attempt to qualify for their final
That means four medals, at best, from the rowers.
Whatever they can do would be a huge boost for
Canadian spirits here and at home.
Porter looked strong Thursday, packing it in during
the final 500 metres when his place in the final was
assured. The top three from each semifinal advanced.
He clocked a time of seven minutes, .82 seconds.
Waddell, who has dominated the single sculls since
winning the world championship in 1998, was first in
5:58.01. The other semi was won by Switzerland's Xeno
Mueller in 7:01.86.
"Usually I got out hard and get the lead and then you
can see what's going on, which I like," said Porter.
"Before, it was no problem getting the lead, but
(Waddell's) been going hard (out of the gate). I've
been more conservative. There's a little cat and mouse
game going on there."
If there's one goal for Porter in Saturday's final,
it's to make sure he's still in touch with Waddell at
1000m mark of the race. That might mean going harder
out of the gate than Porter has been lately. If he
can't be in the lead at that point, he has to at least
be in touch with the leader.
"That third five (500m) is where you separate the men
from the boys," he said. "Anybody can go hard for a
thousand metres. That third five is where things
"It's going to take an extraordinary effort to stay
with (Waddell)," said Porter, "but I think I can do