London 2012 Day 7: Gold for Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins
It was Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins’ day after all. Three previous silvers for Grainger and a bronze for Watkins were turned into gold on Eton-Dorney lake in the space of six and a half epic minutes.
The GB women’s double scull led from the outset and the script went to plan. Australia tried coming back on them at 1,300m but could not derail what became an emotional ride down the course for them and for the nation.
“We knew we were capable of this in our heads and in our hearts but we still had to deliver it”, said Watkins.
Asked what it was like to finally be an Olympic Champion, Grainger said: “It’s very hard to put into words but it’s every bit as wonderful as you might think.”
Before that final the young GB men’s pair of Will Satch and George Nash had wowed the crowd with a bronze on their Olympic debuts.
“It shows if you do the training and you stick to the programme you can do it,” said Satch.
Whilst Grainger and Watkins were still letting it sink in, Alan Campbell won bronze in the men’s single scull – a medal at his third Games of trying in a race won by his friend Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand.
Much earlier the GB men’s quadruple scull of four-times Olympian Matt Wells, Stephen Rowbotham, Charles Cousins and Tom Solesbury produced a strong performance to hold onto fifth place in their final.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE ROWERS?
Tomorrow sees the final day of rowing at the 2012 Games. Britain has three boats in action: the men’s four and the two lightweight men’s doubles.
Andrew Triggs Hodge, Peter Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory are the men’s four and they race at 11.30.
Reed, Hodge and James are defending champions whilst Gregory and James are reigning world champions. They face a potentially tough race with Australia as the main opposition.
Kat Copeland and Sophie Hosking are the lightweight women’s double whose final is at 11.50. They rowed through the Greek World Champions in the semis to qualify for tomorrow’s final.
The final crew to race at the Olympic regatta for Great Britain will be the defending Beijing champions Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase in the lightweight men’s double scull. Their race starts at 12.10.
Drawn side-by-side with their main rivals, Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley of Australia, today’s women’s doubles sculls race had a somewhat gladiatorial feel about it.
Grainger and Watkins were unbeaten before today and are double World Champions, while the Australians won silver behind them in Munich at the final world cup after a season disrupted by injury.
All that Aussie-GB rivalry distilled down into mere minutes. The scene was set.
Watkins and Grainger were peerless. They led from the outset and it seemed difficult at times to see any other boat in the race. Australia briefly threatened at 1,400m, they kicked hard but could not attack the British lead.
Gold for GB, gold for the nation’s favourite rowing daughter and a first gold for Watkins whose engine, dedication and personality have dovetailed so well with Grainger’s racing head and determination.
“You feel that you are in a stadium here,” said Watkins. “The crowd seem to be in front of you and around you and behind you. It’s incredible. We even had time to enjoy it which is more than you could ever dream of.”
Grainger said: “It will sink in eventually I’m sure but I bet I still wake up tomorrow and check it’s still there (the medal).”
Will Satch and George Nash have been one of the surprise packages of the 2012 season for Great Britain. As previous World U23 medallists they were desperately disappointed not to make the cut for the eight in their first season as seniors.
That disappointment will have been tinged by a degree of success already enjoyed at world cup level.
In the semi-finals at Eton Dorney they took the race by storm, leading from the front to win. Today they faced the colossus of Kiwi pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond – multiple World Champions and, like the American women’s eight, one of the stand-out crews of World rowing for the past quadrennium.
Drawn in lane five, after a last-minute shuffling of lanes to ensure fairness on the course, the duo would race side by side with the Kiwis.
But it was the French who went out to an early lead, only to be overhauled at 750m by the New Zealanders who went onto an expected and peerless victory.
Behind them Satch and Nash held their nerve and their rhythm to win bronze in 6:21.77 in a magnificent debut for this significant prospect for more honours in Rio.
“I have so much respect for this guy,” said Satch of Nash. “I’ve known him since we were 14 and raced against him many times. It’s an absolute honour to race with him here.”
“From the word go this guy gave so much power,” said Nash of Satch.
The GB men added a second medal of the day when Alan Campbell emerged from a ding-dong battle with Lassi Karonen of Sweden to take bronze behind one of his great friends Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand with the Czech Ondrej Synek in silver. It was GB’s first men’s single scull medal since 1928.
Alan Campbell is part of a unique trio of rowers from Coleraine at the 2012 Games. He will have watched yesterday while his team-mates Peter and Richard Chambers took silver in the lightweight four.
Today it was his chance to take centre stage after a trouble-free six-week lead into the Games – in contrast to Beijing when he had an infection.
He tracked Drsydale and Synek throughout and broke Lassi Karonen of Sweden with 600m to go. “I wasn’t going to let him through”, he said.
Earlier the men’s quadruple scull of Tom Solesbury, Charles Cousins, Matt Wells and Stephen Rowbotham kicked off the day’s racing for GB. Drawn in lane two, they knew they would have to battle the elements as well as the best crews in the world.
Croatia, the World Champions, were favourites to win but Germany went out fast in lane six. They led by over half a length from Croatia for the first half of the race with GB in lane two well placed in third. Australia came up to challenge GB as the race moved into the second half.
Germany pulled further ahead of Croatia and the Australians pushed past GB as did the New Zealanders in the final 300m. So fifth for GB in a time of 5:49.19.
London 2012 Olympic Games regatta
July 28 – August 4, 2012
Friday, August 3
1. Anna Watkins/Katherine Grainger (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:55.82
2. Kim Crow/Brooke Pratley (Australia) 6:58.55
3. Magdalena Fularczyk/Julia Michalska (Poland) 7:07.92
4. Min Wang/Weiwei Zhu (China) 7:08.92
5. Fiona Paterson/Anna Reymer (New Zealand) 7:09.82
6. Margot Shumway/Sarah Trowbridge (USA) 7:10.54
1. Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand) 6:57.82
2. Ondrej Synek (Czech republic) 6:59.37
3. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:03.28
4. Lassi Karonen (Sweden) 7:04.04
5. Aleksandar Aleksandrov (Azerbaijan) 7:09.42
6. Marcel Hacker (Germany) 7:10.21
1. Eric Murray/Hamish Bond (New Zealand) 6:16.65
2. Germain Chardin/Dorian Mortelette (France) 6:21.11
3. George Nash/Will Satch (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:21.77
4. Niccolo Mornati/Lorenzo Carboncini (Italy) 6:26.17
5. James Marburg/Brodie Buckland (Australia) 6:29.28
6. David Calder/Scott Frandsen (Canada) 6:30.49
1. Germany 5:42.48
2. Croatia 5:44.78
3. Australia 5:45.22
4. Estonia 5:46.96
5. Stephen Rowbotham/Charles Cousins/Tom Solesbury/Matt Wells (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:49.19
6. Poland 5:51.74
Crews listed Bow to Stroke followed by
(Club, Home Town, Date of Birth)
Helen Glover (Minerva Bath, Penzance, 17/06/86)
Heather Stanning (Army RC, Lossiemouth, 26/01/85)
Coach: Robin Williams
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC, Warrington, 16/09/85)
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club, London, 17/05/84)
Jessica Eddie (Univ of London BC, Durham, 07/10/84)
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC, Edinburgh, 15/01/82)
Natasha Page (Gloucester RC, Hartpury, 30/04/85)
Annabel Vernon (Leander Club, Wadebridge, 01/09/82)
Katie Greves (Leander Club, Oxford, 02/09/82)
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club, Wrexham, 30/11/87)
Caroline O’Connor (cox) (Oxford Brookes Univ BC, Ealing, London, 25/04/83)
Coach: Nick Strange
Anna Watkins (Leander Club, Leek, Staffs, 13/02/83)
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC, Aberdeen, 12/11/75)
Coach: Paul Thompson
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC, London, 25/06/84)
Debbie Flood (Leander Club, Guiseley, W. Yorks, 27/02/80)
Frances Houghton (Leander Club, Oxford, 19/09/80)
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC, Gloucester, 28/12/82)
Coach: Ade Roberts
Jo Cook (Leander Club, Sunbury-on-Thames, 22/03/84)
Emily Taylor (Leander Club, Lincoln, 28/06/87)
George Nash (Molesey BCGuildford, 02/10/89)
Will Satch (Leander Club, Henley-on-Thames, 09/06/89)
Coaches: Christian Felkel & John West
Alex Gregory (Leander Club, Wormington, 11/03/84)
Pete Reed (Leander Club, Nailsworth, Glos, 27/07/81)
Tom James (Molesey BC, Wrexham, 11/03/84)
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC, Hebden, N. Yorks, 03/03/79)
Coach: Jürgen Grobler
Alex Partridge (Leander Club, Alton, Hants, 25/01/81)
James Foad (Molesey BC, Southampton, 20/03/87)
Tom Ransley (York City RC, Cambridge, 06/09/85)
Richard Egington (Leander Club, Knutsford, 26/02/79)
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC, Surbiton, 27/03/88)
Greg Searle (Molesey BC, Marlow, 20/03/72)
Matt Langridge (Leander Club, Northwich, 20/05/83)
Constantine Louloudis (Leander Club, London, 15/09/91)
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club, Bedford, 21/07/79)
Coaches: Christian Felkel & John West
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School, Coleraine, 09/05/83)
Coach: Bill Barry
Bill Lucas (London RC, Kingswear, 13/09/87)
Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC, Reading, 26/11/85)
Coach: Mark Earnshaw
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club, Winscombe, Somerset, 11/11/81)
Charles Cousins (Reading Univ BC, Willingham, Cambs, 13/12/88)
Tom Solesbury (Leander Club, Petts Wood, Kent, 23/09/90)
Matthew Wells (Leander Club, Hexham, Northumberland, 19/04/79)
Coach: Mark Banks
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club, Torquay, 16/09/82)
Cameron Nichol (Molesey BC, London, 26/06/87)
Sophie Hosking (London RC, Wimbledon, 25/01/86)
Katherine Copeland (Tees RC. Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, 01/12/90)
Coach: Paul Reedy
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC, Coleraine, 14/03/90)
Rob Williams (London RC, Maidenhead, 21/01/85)
Richard Chambers (Leander Club, Coleraine, 10/06/85)
Chris Bartley (Leander Club, Chester, 02/02/84)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC, Tewkesbury, 02/05/86)
Mark Hunter (Leander Club, Romford, Essex, 01/07/78)
Coach: Darren Whiter
Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC, Windsor, 19/6/85)
David Tanner: Team Leader
Maurice Hayes: Equipment Manager
Ann Redgrave: Doctor
John Tetley: Boatman
Mark Edgar: Physio / Head of Rowing Medical Service
Caroline Searle: Press Officer
Sally Brown: Physio
Maggie Netto: Asst. Team Leader *
Liz Arnold: Physio
Jo Bates: Administrator *
Karen Burn: Physio *
Mark Homer: Sports Scientist
Craig Williams: Sports Scientist
Chris Shambrook: Psychologist *
Alistair Patterson: Performance Analyst *
* Non-Accredited Team Support
For background information about the The GB Rowing Team contact the Press office via email@example.com or 07831 755351
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GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk
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