EAST HARTFORD — The way some in East Hartford remember it, the town's dragon boat team won a gold medal during the races at the Dragon Boat and Asian Festival two years ago.
But the reality was this: A competitor pointed out that of the five women on the team, four were paddlers and one was a drummer. The rules require at least five women paddlers and East Hartford was bumped down to silver, Finance Director Michael Walsh said.
"We had the gold stripped from us and we've been angry ever since, let me tell you," Walsh said jokingly.
Although Walsh was out of town during the festival this year, he said he was thrilled to learn the team scored two gold medals in Saturday's competition.
The East Hartford Dynasty, made up of 21 firefighters, police officers and town hall employees, won a race involving all 63 teams and beat the City of Hartford in a head-to-head.
"Not only did Mayor Leclerc's East Hartford Dynasty win the Mayors' Challenge race, they also won the community division overall, which is a huge accomplishment," said Charlie Myers, director of programs and events for Riverfront Recapture, which sponsored the races.
This is the third year that the annual festival, a celebration of Asian culture that takes place on Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford, includes the Mayor's Challenge, he said. East Hartford won the challenge last year, as well.
Community teams competing Saturday took part in three 500-meter races and the 200-meter Mayor's Challenge. The races take place on the Connecticut River.
East Hartford Dynasty won the community division with a time of 2 minutes and 43 seconds. United Technologies Aerospace Systems' "The Blazing Paddles" came in second and the Malone and MacBroon Warriors came in third.
On Sunday, professional dragon boat teams competed.
ESPN won the community division last year and decided they were good enough to compete in Sunday's races. They won the B division race against professional dragon boat teams, Myers said.
"They had a really strong boat and they performed pretty well," Myers said.
Myers declined to discuss the races two years ago, but Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc said the results were fair.
"They penalized us 10 seconds," she said. "Fair is fair."