Rowing-Australia stacks men's eight in bid for elusive Olympic gold


FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Rowing - Men's Four - Heats - Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo, Japan - July 24, 2021. Alexander Purnell of Australia, Spencer Turrin of Australia, Jack Hargreaves of Australia and Alexander Hill of Australia in action REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia has stacked its rowing men's eight with three Olympic champions in a bid to finally secure the gold medal in the blue riband event at the Paris Games later this year.

With 13 gold medals, Australia has enjoyed plenty of success on the Olympic rowing lake, but silvers in Mexico in 1968 and Sydney in 2000 is the best they have managed in the men's eight.

Jack Hargreaves, Spencer Turrin and Alex Purnell - who were part of the crew that won Olympic gold in the coxless four in Tokyo three years ago - have been drafted into the bigger boat for Paris.

"We've got an outstanding eight," Rowing Australia Performance Director Paul Thompson said in a news release on Sunday.

"We've got three Olympic champions in the men's eight now to add an extra bit of bit of punch to our ambitions."

The crew for the women's coxed eight has yet to be decided, but Thompson believes that boat will also be contending to bring the gold back home for the first time.

"The eights are the nation's boats," he added. "Both eights have been winning medals at the World Cups and World Championships. So, we want to be building on our strengths, and not watching what everybody else is doing."

The rowing at the Paris Olympics will take place from July 27 to Aug. 3 in Vaires-sur-Marne, some 30 km (19 miles) east of the French capital.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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