Former Cascades rower Roman finishes fifth at Rio Olympics

Lisa Roman got her start in the sport of rowing at UFV. She was a member of the Canadian women's eight which competed at the Rio Olympics this week, finishing in fifth place.

Lisa Roman got her start in the sport of rowing at UFV. She was a member of the Canadian women’s eight which competed at the Rio Olympics this week, finishing in fifth place. (Rowing Canada file photo)

University of the Fraser Valley rowing alum Lisa Roman and the Canadian women’s eight crew finished fifth in the Olympic finals on Saturday morning in Rio de Janeiro.

The Canadians got off to a tremendous start in the final, leading through the first 1,000 metres, but they were overhauled down the stretch by the United States (gold medalists), Great Britain (silver), Romania (bronze) and New Zealand (fourth place).

Joining Langley product Roman on the women’s eight were Caileigh Filmer of Victoria, B.C., Susanne Grainger of London, Ont., Natalie Mastracci of Thorold, Ont., Cristy Nurse of Georgetown, Ont., Christine Roper – a native of Jamaica now living in Canada – Antje von Seydlitz of Smithers, B.C., Lauren Wilkinson of North Vancouver, B.C. and veteran coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie.

They opened the Summer Games on Monday with a third-place finish in their heat, which necessitated a detour to Thursday’s repechage in order to qualify for the final. They bounced back in impressive fashion – requiring a top-four finish to advance, they dominated the field en route to victory. In the final, they fell just shy of the podium despite the electric start and a gritty effort throughout.

Roman got her start in the sport of rowing at UFV, signing up for the Cascades’ learn-to-row program in the fall of 2007. She’s made an incredible ascent in the years since, and her accolades include 11 international medals in the women’s eight, including three from the World Rowing Championships (bronze in 2013, silver in 2014, bronze in 2015). She’s the first-ever Cascades alum – across all sports – to compete at the Olympics.

Liz Chisholm, UFV’s longtime rowing coach, expressed her pride in Roman’s performance in Rio.

“It’s super-exciting to see her dream of competing in the Olympics become a reality,” Chisholm said. “There were some high expectations for the women’s eight, because they’d done so well through her years on the World Cup and World Championships. But in an Olympic year, there are changes sometimes.

“They were courageous in their final … it took a lot of courage to blast out at the start and try to hold it, but it was such a strong field. We’re really proud of her.”

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Indigenizing at UFV

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