Row, row, row your boat
By Pamela Cuthbert (Source: PlayBack Online)
November 20, 1995
Silken started rowing competitively at age 17, and soon advanced through the world sculling ranks. She won bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in the double sculls with her sister Daniele, and moved to Victoria BC to train with the Canadian national team. With her gold in the World Championships single sculls in 1991, the stage was set for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
In May 1992, her hopes of Olympic gold were shattered. In a practice session for a pre-Olympic regatta in Germany, another boat swerved across the lanes, colliding with Silken’s and slicing her leg muscles through to the bone.
With only ten weeks until the Olympics, walking, let alone competition, seemed out of the question. After operations in Germany and in Canada to pin bones and reattach muscles, she showed incredible determination and courage to work her leg back into shape in time to row, and to win the Olympic bronze in singles.
That was the inspiration for ex-CBC VP-turned-producer Carol Reynolds to make a movie of Laumann’s life.
Laumann was curious about the actress who’d portray her. But she didn’t meet Nancy Sakovich until the movie was finished filming.
“The timing was awkward. The shooting was right before Olympic trials, and I was so busy I never even got on set. When I first saw a picture of Nancy I thought `She doesn’t look anything like me!’ She had long brown curly hair and she was beautiful.”
“When I met her in person, she’d had her hair cut and lightened, and I thought there was a strong similarity. Certainly with the smile.”