GRAND RAPIDS - Mayor George Heartwell blended right in with eight rowers as they hauled a 54-foot row boat on their shoulders to the dock near the Grand Rapids Boathouse, 291 North Park Street NW, on Friday morning.


The rowers gently placed the 250-pound, eight-person shell into the Grand River and jumped into the sliding seats before strapping their feet into the built-in shoes in the boat. The ninth person on the boat, the leading coxswain, sits facing the rowers in the very front of the shell, giving directions through a microphone.



More than 1,200 athletes will travel to West Michigan in April 2012 after Grand Rapids won the bid to host the MACRA (Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association) Championship Regatta.


The regatta, which was last hosted on the Grand River in Riverside Park in 2007, has grown in size and popularity in recent years and local rowing officials are ecstatic to be bringing it back in 2012.


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Grand Rapids, Mich., April 27, 2011 – The 2011 USA Fencing North American Cup (NAC) was held Friday, April 15-16 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OR. Nearly 1,000 athletes, ages 14 and younger, traveled across the country to compete in the weekend long event. One of those athletes was Grand Rapids native, Alexa Prasher, of the Grand Rapids Advanced Fencing Academy.


Alexa Prasher, age 12, received the silver medal in Y12 Women’s Foil division at USA Fencing’s 2011 North American Cup.


Joon Chi listened to the 13-year-old plead his case Saturday morning at DeVos Place downtown.


"But Sensei, I put him on his back. How could they not see that?" he told Chi during early-round action of this weekend’s USA Judo Youth and Scholastic National Championships. The youth, who had tears welling up in his eyes, was upset with the score the judges awarded him after an early match, but Chi remained calm.


"You have to train harder," Chi said.


"But I train seven days a week," the youth said. "This is (expletive)."


Steve Kaminski | The Grand Rapids Press



What: USA Judo & Scholastic National Championships, Collegiate Open and Cadet World Team Trials

Where: DeVos Place

When: 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, doors open at 8 a.m. both days.

Tickets: Adults $12, two-day pass $20. Children 9-12 $8, 8-and-under free


Jim Murray doesn’t take credit for the quote, but he is more than happy to keep spreading the word.