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BEIJING All three rowers with Virginia ties advanced in their respective events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Lindsay Shoop (U.S. women’s eight) and Wyatt Allen (U.S. men’s eight) will compete for gold medals in Sunday’s finals, while Melanie Kok (Canada lightweight women’s double sculls) advanced to the Thursday’s semifinals and will look to advance to the gold medal race in that event.

Shoop, a Charlottesville native and two-time All-American rower at UVa, rowed to a victory with the women’s eight crew in heat one of the event on Monday at Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park. In ideal rowing conditions, the Americans opened a one-length lead on Great Britain in the first 500 meters and held it for the rest of the race.

The finals of the women’s eight will be Sunday, Aug. 17, at 5:10 a.m. eastern time. Shoop and her U.S. teammates will challenge defending, three-time consecutive Olympic champion Romania in the gold medal race.

Kok, meanwhile, will row in the semifinals of the lightweight women’s double sculls on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 3:30 a.m. eastern time. Kok and teammate Tracy Cameron gave Canada a second-place finish in its heat with a time of 6:54.07. Kok (St. Catharines, Ontario) was an All-American rower at UVa and graduated in 2007.

Allen (Portland, Maine), a 2001 UVa graduate, advanced to the men’s eight final on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 5:30 a.m. eastern time.

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