Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Quicker start pays dividends


Cincinnatian earns semifinal spot

By Ann Green
Gannett News Service

SCHINIAS, Greece - If you were to reduce Steve Tucker's rowing biography to a single paragraph, it might read something like this: From a row-'til-you-blow party in a college frat house to an Olympic semifinal in Greece in 14 short years.

OLYMPICS
[Special section]

ketchum
Greg Ruckman (left) & Steve Tucker
Ketchum earns swim relay gold
Daugherty: Success comes in all colors
U.S. team gets another boost as Siler wins
Quicker start pays dividends
U.S. men's basketball team bounces back to beat Greece
Roddick is hoping to avoid a smooch from Aussie girls

Tucker, 35, from Mooresville, Ind., and teammate Greg Ruckman of Cincinnati advanced to the semifinal in lightweight men's double sculls Tuesday with a time of 6:19.35. Tucker and Ruckman finished second to Japan. They will race again Thursday.

Tucker and Ruckman were part of a perfect five-for-five day for U.S. crews in the second-chance races under much calmer conditions than earlier in the week.

"We had a helpful tailwind," Tucker said of the 2,000-meter race. "We wanted to make a push 300 meters into the race, then step it up again at 750 meters. We were trying to get going hard early in the race. We just weren't aggressive enough in Sunday's heat. Technically, it wasn't as clean, but we wanted to get a hard race under our belts."

Tucker took up the sport at age 21 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology after trying out an ergometer at a frat house during a party.

A physicist by training and a two-time Olympian, Tucker likes to invent devices to help him analyze and improve his rowing stroke.

Now Tucker and Ruckman are trying to join the U.S. men's eight and U.S. women's eight in Sunday's Olympic finals.

"Looking at the heats and the races Tuesday, I don't see an unbeatable boat," Tucker said. "Everyone is in the mix this time. In previous workups, the Italians and Poles have stood out. But now, anyone has a chance for any of the medals."

U.S. boats also advanced to semis in women's single sculls, men's four, lightweight women's double sculls and men's quadruple sculls.




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OLYMPICS [Special section]
Ketchum earns swim relay gold
Daugherty: Success comes in all colors
U.S. team gets another boost as Siler wins
Quicker start pays dividends
U.S. men's basketball team bounces back to beat Greece
Roddick is hoping to avoid a smooch from Aussie girls
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Paul Daugherty's Athens blog
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