From Gazette.Net, by Jennifer Beekman:
Better late than never, according to the adage.
Former Winston Churchill High School basketball and standout 800-meter runner David Banks earned his trip to this summer’s London Olympics for rowing on the final chance.
Banks was part of the U.S. men’s eight-boat that won the May 22 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Banks competed in the boat with coxswain Zach Vlahos (Piedmont, Calif.), Grant James (DeKalb,Ill.), Steve Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Jake Cornelius (Brooktondale, N.Y.), Brett Newlin (Riverton, Wyo.), Ross James (DeKalb, Ill.), Will Miller (Duxbury, Mass) and Giuseppe Lanzone (Annandale, Va.),
They were the top seed entering Tuesday’s final against New Zealand, according to the U.S. Rowing website, and finished the race more than four seconds ahead of their opponent.
Banks finished ninth in the four-man boat at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
While back home for the holidays this past winter, Banks said he was training in the men’s eight and was hopeful he could make another Olympic appearance.
Banks, who graduated from Churchill in 2001, did not start rowing until his freshman year at Stanford University. He started as a walk-on.
But his lean 6-foot-2 stature is built for the sport, and Banks quickly ascended the college ranks in four years and was invited to train with the U.S. national team. He was cut three times before he finally made the team in 2008, but those obstacles, he said, were motivating.
Banks has tallied several positive international results.
In 2010 he finished sixth in the eight at both the 2010 World Rowing Championships and Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne.
He also won bronze in the pair at the same competition in 2009 and finished third in the four in the 2008 event.
The road to London has been a microcosm of Banks’ career. It wasn’t easy, but he found his way to the top. It embodies the principles he spoke of to nearly 50 students when he visited the newly-formed Churchill crew team this past winter.
“When I started out, I was not the best guy in college,” Banks said. “I was given the opportunity to train with the national team but I was cut three times before I made it. But the sport teaches you to persevere.”