TOKYO, Japan —- The screens at the Sea Forest Waterway broadcasting the PR3 mixed coxed four displayed mainly one image for the last couple of minutes of the race: The British pulling and pushing in the lead and the U.S. team rowing right at their heels.
Drifting back and forth from being almost beside their British competitors to being behind them, the Team USA ultimately skimmed past the finish line in second place with a Paralympic best time of 7:20.13 to win the Silver Medal.
A team comprised of one two-time Paralympian and four who have just made their Paralympic debut, the U.S. team was full of fresh faces who took pride in their hard work.
“The one thing you can do when you come here… is to put everything you can on the water, and if you’re capable of doing that, which is already difficult, then you can feel proud of yourself,” said Danielle Hansen, who manned seat 2. “I think all of us did that today, and I’m really proud of us as a team.”
Her teammates agreed that there was no disappointment in Britain getting gold— their team has made strides to get to where they are.
“I think we’re really happy with our performance, being the only U.S. rowing team [at the 2021 Paralympics] to medal. I’d say it’s an accomplishment in and of itself,” said John Tanguay, whose seat was stroke— the seat closest to the stern.
What the team has enjoyed the most if getting to see and meet other Paralympians.
“The human spirit is unbreakable and it’s limitless. This is just a celebration— these games are just a celebration of that,” said Charley Nordin, who manned seat 3.
In the PR2 mixed double sculls, Laura Goodkind and Russell Gernaat placed fourth with a time of 9:11.63.
“We actually caught a crab really pretty early on in the start, and it kind of brought our boat to a stop,” said Gernaat, referring to when an oar gets caught in the water and drags.
In the PR1 women’s single sculls for Final B, Hallie Smith placed fourth with a time of 13:55.87.
“I really wanted to make sure that I could get through it, and my goal was that if I didn’t have much to give at the end, that meant I had rowed my best,” said Smith.
In PR1 men’s single sculls, Blake Haxton placed fourth as well with a time of 11:40.29.