Oklahoma City rowers hope Olympic experience isn't once-in-a-lifetime event

Oklahoma City rowers Will Newell, Robin Prendes and Tom Peszek competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. All three will be competing in the Head of the Oklahoma regatta Saturday on the Oklahoma River.
by Ed Godfrey Published: September 28, 2012
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photo - Arne Landboe, front, Seatle Washington, competes in a heat race of the Junior Men's kayak  at the 2012 Oklahoma Regatta Festival on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Arne Landboe, front, Seatle Washington, competes in a heat race of the Junior Men's kayak at the 2012 Oklahoma Regatta Festival on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Never were more eyes on Oklahoma City rowers Will Newell, Robin Prendes and Tom Peszek than in London during the Olympic Games.

Rowing, with its deep tradition in England, was one of the highest attended events during the London Olympics.

“It was an absurdly large number of spectators,” Peszek said.

Newell and Prendes are members the U.S. men's lightweight four crew that finished eighth in London.

Peszek and Silas Stafford, who also train in Oklahoma City, placed eighth in the men's pair.

“It was incredible to be in that spotlight, just having that moment of fame, even if it was just for like a week or so,” Prendes said.

Newell, a 2011 graduate of Harvard, and Prendes, a 2011 graduate of Princeton, both moved to Oklahoma City because the Oklahoma River is an Olympic training site.

“Robin and I are a little spoiled in that we showed up a year out of college and trained for the Olympics and made it,” Newell said. “We were very lucky to have that timing.”

Peszek, a native of Michigan, was one of the first athletes to move to Oklahoma City after the Boathouse District was built.

All three will be competing Saturday in the Head of the Oklahoma regatta on the Oklahoma River.

Also attending Saturday's regatta festival to sign autographs will be Caryn Davies and Esther Lofgren, two members of the U.S. women's eight crew that captured the gold medal in London.

The gold medal-winning American crew was treated like rock stars in London, Newell said.

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by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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