It took a Winter Olympics to confirm David Calder and Scott Frandsen’s return to the Summer Olympics.
The two rowers had pretty much opted for retirement. They had won an Olympic silver medal in the men’s pairs event in the 2008 Beijing Games. They had jobs, other opportunities. Calder had a wife and two kids.
And then the two B.C. athletes took in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and that was it; their torch was lit.
On Friday morning, Calder and Frandsen take to the Eton Dorney pond for the pairs final, aiming not for silver this time but for gold. Standing between those hopes and the finish line is the New Zealand team of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. They’ve haven’t lost a race since 2009, a point Murray quickly played up after the event’s semi-final. “We know we can win,” he said. “The other boats don’t know if they can beat us.”
Calder, 34, and Frandsen, 32, will have to improve on their third-place showing in their semi-final Wednesday. Calder, a most eloquent spokesman, vowed that he and Frandsen would find their “invincible rhythm” in the final and would perform far better.
“Beijing was an incredible experience and very rewarding,” Calder said. “But for Scott and I, it has always been about winning an Olympic gold medal. So having the opportunity to still be young enough and still be healthy enough to be able to train was there. Beijing was only 12 months of training and this time I’ve been training for 30 months so in a lot of ways I’m better prepared for these Games than I was for Beijing.”
Calder tossed one last ingredient into the mix for the final Friday.
“We’re pretty good at achieving what we’re trying to achieve.”