Aug 1, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorBrett Newlin's eight-man United States boat finished in fourth-place -- .03 second away from a bronze medal -- Wednesday in the finals of the Olympic Games in London.
The U.S. boat finished in 5:51.48. Great Britain was third at 5:51.18. Germany won the gold medal in 5:48.75 and Canada came in second (5:49.98).
The eight-man race was 2,000 meters (1.4 miles), held at Dorney Lake at Eton College.
"We had a very heartbreaking race," said Newlin, who graduated from Riverton High School. "We found ourselves down off the line and had to work our way back into the race. I credit my teammates for pushing back hard, but unfortunately we were still just a few inches behind third place by the finish line."
Newlin said the tight race is going to stick in his memory for a long time.
"That is going to haunt me for a while," Newlin said.
"As far as I can tell, this was one of the closest eight fields in history, and we finished on just the wrong side of it."
The Nerthlands finished fifth (5:51.72), and Australia ended sixth (5:51.87).
Germany came into the eight-man boat field as the favorite, and the crew delivered.
"Germany proved what everyone suspected," Newlin said. "They've been the best in the world for the last four years running. It's been a tossup for the rest of the boats all year. We knew every boat was going to be pretty closely matched after that."
In Wednesday's race, Germany pulled clear with about 400 meters left and crossed the finish line a half length ahead of Canada.
Canada put on a late surge at the end to claim the silver medal.
Newlin also competed in the 2008 Olympics in the four-man rowing competition. His boat finished in ninth-place in Beijing.
"It's been an honor both times," Newlin said. "Wyoming has some great people. I'm a product of that. I'm just sorry that I couldn't bring them back any hardware."
Newlin had his family at the London games. His parents Mick and Pat Newlin were in the stands. Sister Kristen Newlin was also watching.
"It was great to have the whole family there cheering me on," Newlin said.
"They knew I wouldn't be happy with anything other than a spot on the podium but afterwards it was nice to have them there to lean on. I got quite a few tearful hugs and it helped to hear they're still proud of me."
Newlin will continue to stay in London and cheer on his rowing teammates.
"There's still a few days of rowing left," Newlin said.
The 6-foot-9 225-pound Newlin lives in Chula, Vista, Calif., when he is not traveling for training or competition. He is getting married in September.
Other members of the United States eight-man boat are Jake Cornelius (Ithaca, N.Y.), Steve Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Giuseppe Lanzone (McLean, Va), WIll Miller (Duxbury, Ma), Ross James, (DeKalb, Ill.), Grant James (DeKalb, Ill.) and David Banks (Bethesda, Md).
"It's been a gruelling year," Newlin said.
"The guys in the boat have been trough it every step of the way and will be lifelong friends."
Newlin's boat qualified for the Olympics in May. The United States eight-man boat started off the rowing competition on Saturday after winning its heat to advance straight to the finals.
Newlin's boat won the heat in 5:30.72. Australia finished second in 5:32.43,
Poland ended third at 5:35.64, and Ukraine crossed the finish line fourth (5:38.02).
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