Olympic rower Charlie Cole ’07 is more accustomed to winning awards by plunging his oar into the water than by online voting.

But the talented athlete, who won the bronze medal in the men’s four at the 2012 London Olympics, is in the running to become USRowing’s Fan’s Choice Award “National Team Rower of the Year.”

As of Friday evening, Cole had a narrow lead against four fellow Olympic rowers, claiming 28.7 percent of the vote, compared to the next runner-up with 27.3 percent of the vote.

Although most of the rowing world, including Yale’s rowing community, will likely focus their attention on The Head of the Charles regatta — which will be held this weekend in Boston, Mass. and Cambridge, Mass. — they should not lose sight of Cole as he nears the finish line in his race to become USRowing’s favorite rower.

This is not the first time Cole — who could not be reached for comment for this article — has been recognized by the American rowing community. Last year, after a fourth place finish in the men’s four at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, Cole won the Male Athlete of the Year Award, one that was decided by coaches and athletes of the 2011 World Rowing Championships team.

After accepting that award, Cole told US Rowing that he considered it a “great honor to be recognized this way by [his] teammates and coaches.”

Voting concludes on Monday at 5 p.m. Who knows — poll results for this race may be even closer than the upcoming presidential election.