Bergen’s boat qualifies for Olympic berth

100 mile's Gabe Bergen off to the Olympics

Gabe Bergen

Gabe Bergen

It looks like 100 Mile House will be adding another Olympian to its list of current and former residents.

As a member of the Canadian men’s eight, rower Gabe Bergen qualified last week to compete at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.

Canada took a bronze medal at the world rowing championships in Bled, Slovenia, with a time of five minutes, 31.18 seconds. Germany was the winner with 5:28.81 and Great Britain second, with 5:30.83.

The six finalists and the B final winner in the 2,000-metre race earned automatic Olympic berths. Other teams making the cut were fourth-place Australia, fifth-place Poland, six-place Netherlands and B event winner Ukraine.

Bergen will be carrying on a family tradition when he dips his oar into London’s Dorney Lake in 2012, as his father, Bob Bergen, a former Mile 108 Mile Elementary School teacher, competed in the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics in the rowing pairs event.

Gabe Bergen says his team worked extremely hard this year to meet their goal.

“We knew it was going to be a very tough world championships because everyone wants to earn an Olympic berth. I believe the training paid off and it feels good to know we can go home this year and focus on getting on the podium in London next year.

“Personally speaking, it feels amazing to know I have the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games, an event that brings so many countries together.”

Bergen was joined in the boat with coxswain Brian Price (Belleville, Ont.), Will Crothers and Rob Gibson (both Kingston, Ont.), Andrew Byrnes (Toronto, Ont.), Malcolm Howard (Victoria), Conlin McCabe (Brockville, Ont.), Jeremiah Brown (Cobourg, Ont.), and Doug Csima (Oakville, Ont.)

Price and Byrnes were members of the men’s eight that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.