ETON DORNEy, England – Six years after she took up the sport, Adrienne Martelli is an Olympic medalist.
Martelli, a 2006 Curtis High School graduate, was the stroke and fellow University of Washington alum Megan Kalmoe was in seat 3 for the United States team, which finished third in the finals of the women’s quadruple sculls competition Wednesday on Dorney Lake.
The United States earned the bronze medal by finishing the 2,000-meter race in 6 minutes, 40.63 seconds. Ukraine won in 6:35.93, followed by Germany (6:38.09).
“It’s a pretty magical feeling when little kids want to take a picture with you and your medal,” Martelli posted on Twitter.
It was the second medal for the Americans in the event and the first since 1984, when they won silver.
“We had the gutsiest, hardest, most aggressive race we’ve ever had,” said Kalmoe, a 2006 UW graduate. “It took me a minute to get sight and consciousness back after that last stretch.
“It was everything I had. … To have it finally culminate here in a medal, it was a huge relief.”
The U.S. was second for most of the race before Germany passed the Americans after the 1,000-meter mark.
“This feels good,” Kalmoe said. “We went out for gold, we went hard, we went aggressive and we came away with bronze. But we’re happy to bring home a medal, and it’s the first one in a really long time in this event for the women, and we did the best we could.
“The conditions were awesome today. The girls emptied the tank. We had our best performance, I think. I am happy, but we came here for gold. That’s what all the athletes come for, and it’s a great achievement and we’re happy with that. But there is always room to go up a few steps and hopefully next time it will be gold.”
Olympia native Brodie Buckland will compete in the finals of the men’s pairs for Australia on Friday after finishing third with teammate James Marburg in Wednesday’s heat race.
Buckland, a 2002 Capital High School graduate who became an Australian citizen earlier this year, and Marburg finished in 7:02.12. England won the heat in 6:58.46.
In the men’s eight final, the United States (5:51.48) finished fourth, .30 of a second behind bronze-medal winner England (5:51.18).
Brett Newlin, a 2005 University of Washington graduate, was the stroke for the U.S., which was last after 1,000 meters.
Three-time world champion Germany won in 5:46.75, with Canada earning the silver medal (5:49.98).
“It feels horrible,” U.S. rower Giuseppe Lanzone said. “It’s painful. Whether you come close or not, we didn’t get a medal.”
Said U.S. coach Mike Teti, “They gave 100 percent effort. They were out of the race. They got back in it, and then they fought really hard to get a medal – almost. … I’ve never seen a race with six boats within a length of each other, and I’ve seen a few of them.”
In the women’s pairs, Americans Sara Hendershot and Sarah Zelenka finished fourth in 7:30.39, missing a bronze medal by .20 of a second.
England’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won in 7:27.13.
“It’s over now,” Hendershot said. “Tomorrow I’m just a normal person again.”