By STEVE BEZANSON -- Halifax Herald
Dartmouth's Todd Hallett is going to the Sydney Olympics afterall.
"Next to getting engaged to my wife this is the most exciting day of my life," said Hallett, who had just finished competing in a World Cup race in Lucerne, Switzerland when he learned of his selection late Sunday afternoon.
"In 1992 (Barcelona) and 1996 (Atlanta), I had basically qualified the year
before and it was no big deal. But I've been on an emotional roller-coaster since losing out in qualifying last Wednesday and then heard there was still a chance we might get selected."
In the final Olymic qualifying race (men's double) on July 12, Hallett and his
partner, Dominic Seiterle of Montreal, finished third, just 76-100th seconds out of earning a spot in Sydney.
However, FISA, the international rowing federation, confirmed Sunday that
Canada's men's double and lightweight women's double will be allowed to row at the Summer Games.
That will bring the number of Canadian crews at the Olympics to nine.
The women's lightweight double is Fiona Milne of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and
Tracy Duncan of Saskatoon.
Both crews had met Canadian national rowing team standards in the international
qualification races on July 12.
After calculating the number of rowers allowed to participate in Sydney, crew
invitations were revised.
Hallett and Seiterle have been together since February.
"The last three hours I've been ecstatic," said the 30-year-old Hallett, who
finished seventh in double sculls in both Barcelona and Atlanta. "It's hard to believe I can be so happy."
At Lucerne on Sunday, Hallett and Seiterle finished third in the B final and
"We have a lot of work ahead of us but I definitely believe we can move up in
the Olympics," said Hallett. "In the next two months we need to find five or six seconds (of speed). Dominic and I have only had eight races together and this has been a big learning experience for us."
Hallett returns to Canada this week and will spend four weeks training in St.
Catherines, Ont., before moving on to Rockhampton, Australia for his final month of preparation.
In World Cup final regatta action Sunday, Canada won two silvers and two bronze.
Victoria's Derek Porter of Victoria finished second in the men's single event in six minutes 54.150 seconds, behind 1999 world champion Rob Waddell of New Zealand who was first in 6:53.13.
Also winning a silver Sunday behind Romania was the Canadian women's eight:
Laryssa Biesenthal of Walkerton, Ont., Buffy Alexander of St. Catharines, Ont., Dorota Urbaniak of Toronto, Heather Davis of Vancouver, Heather McDermid of Calgary, Alison Korn of Nepean, Ont., Emma Robinson of Winnipeg, Theresa Luke of 100 Mile House, B.C., and cox Lesley Thompson of London, Ont.
Robinson and Luke won a bronze in the women's coxless pairs won by Romania.
In the lightweight men's pair event, a non-Olympic boat class, Ben Storey of Whitehorse and Ed Winchester of Rothesay, N.B., won a bronze medal.