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Friday, September 22, 2000
PROFILE: Derek Porter
Canada's next medallist could be Porter


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. Powerful.

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 the effort.

"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 scenario.

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 ahead.

"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 situation."

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 tomorrow.

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 generally unfold.

"It's going to take an extraordinary effort to stay with (Waddell)," said Porter, "but I think I can do it."
Derek Porter in the news
Canadians sadly finish fourth
Porter's best still not good enough
Canadians resent being called losers
Porter in pictures
Sydney frustration
4th place
With Tara Moss
Single sculls heat
Sydney training
A new uniform
Hugging Theresa Luke
Relaxing after a win
Showing off a medal
After a win
Winning silver