MIAMI, FL - The Cuban National Rowing Team, missing since the
2000 meter Olympic semifinals in Beijing last week, arrived in Miami
Beach today to the surprise of hundreds of beach-goers. All nine
members of the team, although quite tired, were in good health and
spirits. Although it is not an official Olympic event, it is
believed that the team shattered the record for
"It was a little tricky coming
around Cape Horn." said Emilio Consuegas, coxswain for the team.
"But we knew we were in the home stretch."
The Cubans, with a
proud tradition of rowing dating back decades, has had little
success in competitive rowing since the Mariel Boatlift depleted the
country of its best rowing talent. The situation was further
complicated by a constant shortage of boats. This team however,
training on land to comply with Cuban maritime regulations, worked
tirelessly to regain that once proud rowing tradition.
uncle once paddled a '65 Rambler all the way to Key West." said
Franco Huertaz, crew anchor and single scull specialist. "I dedicate
this race to him."
Other members of the team were just happy
to be out of China. "It's really a repressive society." said Miguel
Cervesa, who plans on seeking political asylum to avoid persecution
for his anti-tobacco beliefs. "I'll bet it's hard to find a decent
boat over there, too."