October 25, 2011

Johnson ’11 Wins Gold in U.S. Eight at Pan American Games

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Derek Johnson has had a busy couple of months since graduating from Yale.  Just two months after finishing his tenure as captain of the Yale heavyweight crew team for the 2010-11 season, Johnson won the 2011 Senior World Championships Trials in the pair with coxswain, earning him a bid to the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, where he finished fifth.  Most recently Johnson raced at the 16th Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he crossed the finish line first as bow seat of the U.S. eight to win a gold medal.

The U.S. crew of coxswain Marcus McElhenney (Lansdowne, Pa.), Mike Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.), Matt Wheeler (Eugene, Ore.), Blaise Didier (San Francisco, Calif.), Steve Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Joe Spencer (Washington, D.C.), Ty Otto (Seattle, Wash.), Jason Read (Ringoes, N.J.) and Johnson (Hillsborough, Calif.) led from the start in last Wednesday's final.  Canada won the silver medal, finishing 1.69 seconds behind the U.S., and Argentina took bronze.

A highlight video of the men's eight final can be accessed here.

While the rowing events were held out in Cuidad Guzman, Johnson and a few other rowers were able to attend the opening ceremony because Read, bow man in the gold-medal 2004 Olympic eight, was chosen to be the flag bearer for Team USA.  Read is of course one of the more senior members of the U.S. National Team, but Johnson found good company in Didier, Genarro and Otto, all of whom attended the 2010 USRowing Men's Under-23 National Team Selection Camp with Johnson.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity

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