U.S. women’s eight to vie for fourth straight Olympic title with seven first-time Olympians

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The U.S. women’s eight will vie for a historic fourth consecutive Olympic title this summer with seven first-time Olympians in the boat.

Coxswain Katelin Guregian, who competed at the 2016 Olympics as Katelin Snyder before marrying fellow Olympic rower Nareg Guregian later that year, and two-time Olympic champion Meghan Musnicki are the only athletes returning from the Rio team.

They will be joined by Charlotte Buck, Olivia Coffey, Gia Doonan, Brooke Mooney, Kristine O’Brien, Regina Salmons and Jessica Thoennes. Coffey, Doonan and O’Brien are world medalists, while Buck, Mooney, Salmons and Thoennes are making their debut at a global championship.

In one of the sport’s greatest dynasties, the U.S. women’s eight won every Olympic and world title from 2006 to 2016 before placing fourth at the 2017 World Championships. The U.S. returned to the top of the podium at the 2018 worlds and then settled for bronze in 2019.

If the U.S. wins in Tokyo, it would hold the most consecutive Olympic gold medals in the event. Romania is currently tied with three (1996, 2000, 2004).

Thirty rowers total were added to the U.S. Olympic team on Friday, all of whom will compete in the sport’s big boats, consisting of either four or nine athletes each. The teams were named following a women’s camp in Princeton, New Jersey, and men’s camp in Oakland, California.

The U.S. qualified to compete in all but one of the six big boats contested in Tokyo: men’s quadruple sculls.

LIST: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

The men’s eight, which finished fourth in Rio and second at the 2017 World Championships, will be led by world medalists Julian Venonsky (coxswain) and Nick Mead, and Olympian Austin Hack. They are joined by Justin Best, Liam Corrigan, Ben Davison, Conor Harrity, Alex Miklasevich and Alexander Richards.

Ellen Tomek was named to the women’s quadruple sculls after competing at the 2008 and 2016 Games in the double sculls. Meghan O’Leary, who won the 2017 world silver medal in doubles with Tomek, is also in the boat, along with Cicely Madden and Alie Rusher.

The women’s four makes its Olympic return this year after only being held in 1992, when the U.S. took silver. This year’s U.S. team includes 2016 Olympian Grace Luczak, who was fourth in the pair in Rio, Madeleine Wanamaker, who won the 2018 world title in the four, and Kendall Chase and Claire Collins.

Clark Dean, Michael Grady, Andrew Reed and 2016 Olympian Anders Weiss make up the men’s four.

Five rowers – Kara Kohler, Molly Reckford, Michelle Sechser, Gevvie Stone, Kristina Wagner – had already earned their spots on the team at Olympic Trials earlier this year.

The U.S. Olympic rowing team will be complete at 37 athletes after the women’s pair is selected at the final Olympic Trials on Saturday.

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