Caroline Lind, a 2006 Princeton Von Kienbusch Award winner who led the Princeton women's 8+ to arguably the most dominant season in NCAA rowing history, has a new championship for her growing collection -- Olympic gold. The former Tiger stroke led the U.S. to the gold medal in the women's 8+ competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Classmate Steve Coppola, the All-America stroke for the Princeton men, helped the U.S. rally for bronze.
Lind, who guided Princeton to two Ivy League and Eastern titles and the 2006 NCAA championship, rowed in the 6-seat for the U.S. during Sunday's grand final. She helped the U.S. jump out early; the crew went 1:29.04 in the first 500 meters to lead Canada by .73 of a second. The Canadian boat had Lind's Princeton teammate, Andreanne Moran '06, rowing in the 2-seat. Moran and her Canadian teammates were beaten out by the Netherlands and Romania in the second half of the race and fell just off the medal stand.
The U.S. would have no such problems. Lind and the her American teammates led Romania by more than one second after 1000 meters and by more than two seconds after 1500 meters. The Netherlands made a valiant final sprint to catch Romania for silver, but the U.S. team was celebrating its golden accomplishment when the silver was determined. The Americans posted a winning time of 6:05.34, while the Netherlands took second in 6:07.22, .03 of a second ahead of Romania.
Coppola, rowing in the 6-seat for the U.S. men's 8+, tried to match his former classmate's accomplishment in the following race. A slow first 500 meters placed the U.S. in sixth early on, but the gritty American squad began to fight back immediately. Coppola and his teammates moved past Australia and Poland by the 1000-meter mark; the Australian boat, which took sixth in the final, was led in the 2-seat by 2006 Princeton graduate Sam Loch. The U.S. got to third when it moved past the Netherlands and made a final move towards Great Britain in the final stretch. Canada would take gold (5:23.89) and Great Britain would hold on for silver (5:25.11), but the American rally put Coppola on the Olympic medal stand for the first time with a time of 5:25.34, nearly four full seconds ahead of the Netherlands.
Lia Pernell '03 reached the final of the women's quad, where she rowed in the bow, but the U.S. (6:25.86) could not defeat China, Great Britain or Germany for a medal spot. Paul Teti '01, an Olympic veteran for Princeton, finished ninth in the men's 4-.