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Olympic champion Avalon Wasteneys aiming for more success in rowing career

What do you do after winning an Olympic gold medal? The greatest athletes always push for more, despite having reached the highest peak.
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Canada’s Madison Mailey, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys and Kristen Kit celebrate after crossing the finish line to win the gold medal in women’s eight rowing competition at the Tokyo Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

What do you do after winning an Olympic gold medal? The greatest athletes always push for more, despite having reached the highest peak. Avalon Wasteneys of Campbell River wants to do just that after winning gold in the Canadian women’s eight last summer in the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into international racing after taking some time after Tokyo to reset and re-energize,” the 24-year-old University of Victoria Vikes product said in a statement.

Wasteneys was named to the national team for the World Cup 2 regatta from Friday through next Sunday in Poznan, Poland.

“It’s been really rewarding to get back into things with a slightly different group of athletes and I’m excited to see what we will build this summer. I’m particularly excited about racing in new boat classes, as I have only ever competed internationally in the eight and I am sure it will prove to be an awesome opportunity for growth.”

Three of the gold-medallists from the Tokyo eight — Wasteneys, Brentwood College-graduate Sydney Payne and coxswain Kristen Kit — will switch to the fours in the Poland World Cup regatta to join Olympians Jessica Sevick and Gabrielle Smith.

Wasteneys, Payne and Kit will, however, return to the eight for World Cup 3 later this summer in Lucerne, Switzerland, as Canada is targeting medals in both the women’s four and eight at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Canadian rowing has a deep-rooted legacy of Olympic success in the eights dating back over 100 years,” said Rowing Canada interim high performance director Adam Parfitt of Victoria.

“It’s an important piece of our high performance strategy of building a bigger pool of athletes leading into Paris in addition to our on-going strategy of supporting the development and sustainability of our small boat success on the international stage.”

Rowing Canada, based on the Island, is sending seven crews to Poland for the first World Cup regatta. They include a men’s eight powered by three-time Olympian and 2012 London Games silver-medallist Will Crothers, who turns 35 next week.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com