Well before the sun rose anywhere in the U.S.A., Princeton's Sara Hendershot '10 earned a spot in the women's pairs gold medal final. She is one of five Tigers who compete during Day 1 of the 2012 Olympiad.
Hendershot, and teammate Sarah Zelenka, placed second to the pair from Great Britain in their opening heat. With a time of 6:59.29, the U.S.A. pair topped Romania by more than six seconds to earn one of the two berths in that heat to the gold medal final.
If there was a question of Olympic nerves, Hendershot took care of those early.
"Sarah Zelenka and I went for a quick paddle this morning and got a lot of our jitters out before we actually launched for the race," Hendershot said. "While we warmed up and sat on the line, we were both just so thrilled to be a part of such an exciting event, and really ready to see what we could do. Cool as cucumbers!"
"I think we had a good, solid first race," she added. "This was our first international race in the pair, so we're happy to have it under our belts. We executed well, but we know exactly where we can improve, so we're hoping for more in the final on Wednesday."
While there will be time to prepare for that final, Hendershot is enjoying the knowledge that she will race for gold on Aug. 1 (10:10 am London/5:10 am EDT).
"It is so, so exciting!" she said. "We can't wait to test ourselves once again and see what we turn up with."
Gevvie Stone '07 took care of business in her women's single sculls heat, placing third in 7:33.68 to reach the quarterfinals on July 31 (6:40 am).
On the men's side, both Sam Loch '06 and Robin Prendes '11 will need to compete in repechages. Loch, in the Australian men's eight, took second to the U.S.A. in a time of 5:32.43, but it can still reach the gold medal final with a strong finish in its rep (July 30, 4:50 am EDT). Prendes and the U.S. men's lightweight four placed fifth in its heat (6:02.42) and will need a top-three finish in its repechage to make the semifinals; the lightweight four rep will be July 29 at 6 am.
The last Olympian to compete on Day 1 was be Diana Matheson '08, who helped lead the Canadian women's soccer team to a 3-0 win over South Africa in the group round. Canada is 1-1 in Group F to rank third in the four-team group. The next match, and final match of the group round, is against Sweden (1-0-1) on July 31.
Of course, all events are being streamed live through the NBCOlympics web site and its mobile app.
Day 2 will also be a full one for Princeton. Prendes will compete in his repechage at 6 am, and the open women's eights will begin at 6:50 am. Caroline Lind '06 will be in the first heat for Team U.S.A., while Andréanne Morin '06 and Lauren Wilkinson '11 will be in the second heat for Team Canada.
Later in the day, the U.S.A. field hockey team will make its Olympic debut (not counting the quality TV time from last night's Opening Ceremony). Julia Reinprecht '14 and Katie Reinprecht '13 will be part of the American squad that takes on Germany at 4:15 pm EDT. That game will be shown on NBC Sports.