Rowing is Buffalo’s top Olympic sport. Since I began covering the Games in 1992, I’ve reported on more rowers than any other local athletes.
This year in Rio could top them all. On Monday, Buffalo native Emily Regan made the U.S. women’s eight, which is chasing a third straight gold medal. Her coach is Tom Terhaar, a St. Joe’s grad who has led the U.S. women since 2001.
The eight is rowing’s marquee event, and our women’s eight its most dominant boat. Terhaar’s women haven’t lost a major race since 2005. They’ve won 10 consecutive world titles, the longest streak in any discipline.
Regan, 28, didn’t row until freshman year at Michigan State. She’s in the 5 seat, typically occupied by one of the strongest rowers. Regan, who is 6-2, simply wanted to make the team. It didn’t matter which boat. But in the eight, she could become the first local rower to win gold. Steven Coppola won bronze in the men’s eight in 2008.
Circle Aug. 13 on your calendars, the date of the women’s eight final. It could be Buffalo rowing’s finest hour.