3 Vancouver Island rowers headed to Olympics with Team Canada

3 Vancouver Island rowers headed to Olympics with Team Canada
Photo: World Rowing
Team Canada’s women’s eight competes at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The 2024 Olympic Games are only a month away, and three rowers from Vancouver Island will be headed to Paris to compete on the national team.

Victoria residents Caileigh Filmer and Sydney Payne – as well as Campbell River talent Avalon Wasteneys – are all headed to the Olympics as part of Team Canada’s women’s eight rowing crew.

Team Canada says this year’s event will be an important one for the rowers.

“The women’s eight enter the Olympic regatta as the reigning Olympic champions, with an eye on a defense of that title,” said the team in a release Thursday.

Wasteneys and Payne are return athletes, after competing in the 2020 Olympics and taking home the gold medal for women’s eight in Tokyo.

Wasteneys says she’s looking forward to competing again and feeling the energy of the games, particularly because the 2020 Olympics had a more muted turn out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Returning for my second Olympic Games makes me feel incredibly grateful for all the amazing support and hard work that has brought us to this point,” she said Thursday.

“What I am genuinely most excited about is getting out there and competing with my teammates,” she added. “This crew continually excels under pressure, and I can’t wait to see how we rise to the challenge of performing at the highest possible level in Paris!”

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Meanwhile, Filmer will also be joining the women’s eight team after competing in the women’s pair in 2020, and after being part of the women’s eight crew in Rio in 2016.

“Being selected to go to my third Olympic Games is a dream come true that I would not have thought possible a year ago,” said the Victoria resident.

“I picked up an oar again last July when I came back to the sport, inspired to help Canada become back-to-back Olympic Champions in the Women’s Eight.”

Filmer says she’s proud of the work that the team has put in to prepare for the games, and that she’s “thrilled to race with these women and to have fun doing what we love together, representing Canada at the Olympics.”

The rowing events will take place at the Paris 2024 Olympics from July 27 to Aug. 3.

Canada has won 43 Olympic medals for rowing events, making it the country’s third-most successful summer sport, behind athletics and swimming.

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