rio olympics

Team GB win men’s eight to top rowing table for third successive Olympic Games

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 August, 2016, 4:58am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 August, 2016, 6:51pm

Olympic rowing wrapped up in Rio on Saturday with Great Britain winning the men’s eight gold to top the medal table for the third successive Games.

Victory was Britain’s third gold on the picturesque Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon beside Copacabana beach for a five medal haul.

WATCH: golden moments on Day 8 at the Rio Olympics

The men’s eight was one of four finals on the last day of competition in Brazil.

New Zealand’s Mahe Drysdale retained his men’s single sculls’ and the United States’ celebrated their third straight woman’s eight crown.

Hong Kong win a medal at Rio Olympics – well, sort of – as ‘local girl’ Melanie Wilson takes rowing silver for Team GB

Australian Kimberley Brennan took gold in the women’s single sculls.

The victorious British eight team led from start to finish to beat London 2012 champions Germany with the Netherlands in bronze. This was the GB team’s fourth title in the blue riband event.

On the British boat were Scott Durant, Tom Ransley, Andrew Hodge, Matt Gotrel, Pete Reed, Paul Bennett, Matt Langridge, William Satch, and cox Phelan Hill.

“We were gladiators out there today,” was Hodge’s succinct appraisal of their achievement.

Satch, who switched to rowing “as I was absolutely useless at football”, lifted the lid on his team’s master strategy.

“Our plan? To not look back and keep going and going. I couldn’t believe we had actually done it when we crossed the line.”

Coach Jurgen Grobler said: “There are no secrets. Hard, hard, work, having vision of what is coming up and running a good training programme - and they’re still having fun.”

He said funding from Britain’s national lottery had played a major role in British rowing’s continued success.

WATCH: relive the action involving Hong Kong athletes on Day 7 at the Rio Olympics

The USA women’s eight had silver medallists Britain and Romania in their wake.

There were only two survivors, Meghan Musnicki and Eleanor Logan from the USA team that won in London four years ago.

The duo were joined by Emily Regan, Kerry Simmonds, Amanda Polk, Lauren Schmetterling, Tessa Gobbo, Amanda Elmore and cox Katelin Snyder.

In the men’s sculls, Drysdale claimed back-to-back Olympic titles but only after a tight photo-finish with Croatia’s Damir Martin.

The 37-year-old Drysdale set a new Olympic record time of 6min 41.34sec, with Martin second on the same time.

The Kiwi rower recounted the tense moments he had to endure beside Martin before the result was announced over the tannoy.

“We were sitting there. He looked at me and said, ‘what’s the result?’ I looked at him and I said: ‘I don’t know.’

“It was an agonising wait. I’m happy I was on the right side of it but it could have gone either way.”

Confidence sky-high for Hong Kong-raised Melanie Wilson and Great Britain in women’s eights

Czech rower Ondrej Synek came in third.

In the women’s sculls all the way leader Brennan beat her compatriot Genevra Stone with in bronze China’s Duan Jingli.

This was Australia’s first rowing gold since Beijing in 2008, and first in this event.

“I think it’s quite special the tradition we do have in rowing. It’s nice to broaden that to a different boat class,” said Brennan.