1991 - Feature Story
In her ninth year as a national-level rower Silken Laumann continually hammered home the point that Canada now needed to be recognized as a world power in the sport. A year after moving to Victoria, British Columbia, to train with coach Mike Spracklen, Laumann won both the World Cup title and the World Championship. The former, in a gruelling season-long series of six races, was built on victories in San Diego and the Netherlands. The latter came in an extraordinary back-and-forth duel with Romanian rival Elisabeta Lipa in Austria, in which the women traded the lead five times before Laumann pulled away decisively in the final 200m. Laumann said, two of her three goals, the World Cup and World Championship were now fulfilled.

1992 - Feature Story
The only remaining goal in rowing for Silken Laumann was an Olympic medal, but that looked impossible after her boat was rammed in a training accident and her right leg was mangled only seven weeks before the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Doctors told her she might not race again and certainly not at the Olympic Games. Laumann said, “I told the doctors, I thought differently.’’ After five surgeries and 23 days in hospital, she couldn’t walk -- but she could row. Lifted from a wheelchair into her boat, she resumed training a few weeks before the 1992 Games, and somehow persevered to win an Olympic Bronze medal, probably the most glittering Bronze medal in Canadian sports history. As the symbol of dedication and accomplishment, she was chosen by her teammates to carry Canada’s flag at the closing ceremonies.
Dave Perkins

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