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Local Athletes Struggle in Day 6 of the Olympics

After a few days of strong performances, local athletes struggled to perform after great performances earlier on throughout the Games.

Medal chances were highlighted by Fair Lawn’s own Tracy Eisser of the women’s quadruple sculls discipline in rowing. Eisser along with three others, were expected to contend for the podium in the event after making the finals in the repechage. She was the defending world champion, so she and her teammates were expected to win. However, they disappointed themselves, struggling to fight Poland’s pace in the beginning, and being over five seconds behind at the halfway split. Eisser and company ended up finishing fifth, behind gold medalist Germany, Netherlands, the silver medalists and Poland, who wound up with the bronze.

Eisser was one of a few local rowers in Rio, along with Andrew Campbell and Charlie Cole of New Canaan, CT, and Henrik Rummel of Pittsford, NY. However, none of them wound up on the medal stand. Campbell was part of a historic repechage race the day before, when he and his partner became the first Americans to make the final in men’s lightweight double sculls in Olympic history, however, they finished fifth. Rummel and Cole are in the men’s coxless four, and after the first final, they found themselves in first place. The second final, with all of the top qualifiers and expected medal contenders, are racing today, which will likely erase their place on the podium.

The last canoe slalom race wrapped up with local athletes Casey Eichfeld of Drums, PA and Devin McEwan of Salisbury, CT racing together in the canoe doubles. However, they had a very rough race, marred by penalties and struggling causing them to finish in tenth and last place. They weren’t expected to medal, but the race was a bit disappointing, as they were far out from even ninth place. They were six seconds away from ninth, the same margin that separated ninth from fifth place. Eichfeld, 26, will likely be back for Tokyo, especially after a great showing in the singles event, and McEwan will probably go for the 2020 Olympics as well at age 31.

Missy Franklin continued to decline in the pool, disappointing in her likely final race of the Rio Olympics. In her second of two individual events, Franklin failed to make the final yet again, finishing seventh in the 100m backstroke, after finishing eighth in her semifinal heat of the 200m freestyle earlier in the games. She had won gold in the backstroke event four years ago in London en route to setting a world record in that event. She will come home from Rio with a gold medal, as part of the women’s champion 4X100m freestyle relay, a team that she was only part of in the qualifiers, a status normally relegated for the B-list athletes. It sets up a huge comeback story for her in the 2020 games, a goal that she has more than likely set for herself after this disappointing showing.

Lastly, on the rugby pitch, the United States men finished their disappointing Olympic debut with a victory over Spain to secure their ninth place showing. They dominated in their final match, winning 24-12, but it was still not the performance they wanted, with them having realistic medal expectations coming into the Games. Ryan Carlyle of West Nyack, and Chris Wyles of Stamford were the local athletes in that race.

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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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