The Slovenia Times

Cop Leads Rowers to Two Medals



They won their first medal by becoming the men's double sculls champions, then followed that gold with a silver medal in the men's quad scull together with Davor Mizerit and Matej Prelog. Cop and Spik beat the Italian crew by just 0.35 seconds but Cop said afterwards that it was not as close as it looked. "We began to conserve our strength for the next day once it was clear that we had won," said the 33-year-old native of Bled. Their victory had been somewhat expected as they had already won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and a silver in Athens last year. Therefore, it was the final of the quad sculls that was the more eagerly awaited event because no one was sure whether Cop and Spik would be able to recover for the race in time. They had hoped for another win but were unable to reign in the Polish four at the finish. Nevertheless, nobody was disappointed and relief rather than satisfaction seemed to be the overwhelming sentiment after a race that could have ended in disaster. Commenting after receiving his second medal, Cop said: "I'm speechless. We went for the gold, but at the same time I was wondering whether Luka and I could take another difficult race. For me this medal is like gold." The flamboyant and more easygoing Spik disagreed with his fellow rower: "Gold is gold and silver is silver." But he agreed that the double sculls race had taken its toll: "If we had competed in quad sculls only, we could have won." The President, Dr Janez Drnovsek, received all four rowers upon their arrival home and hundreds of people welcomed them back in their hometowns of Bled, Koper and Maribor. The two medals from Gifu takes the number of medals won by Slovenia in major rowing competitions to 18, with Cop having played a part in 13 of them. The idea of competing in the two events was initiated by Cop who is constantly looking for new challenges. Double sculls remains his favourite class but he has also tried his luck in a single scull and now in a quad. Last year, he also competed in a few cross-country skiing events in the hope of making it into the national squad for next year's Winter Olympic Games in Turin.


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