Britain finally claims first Olympic gold in rowing

Britain finally claims first Olympic gold in rowing

WINDSOR, England - The Associated Press
Britain finally claims first Olympic gold in rowing

Great Britain rowing duo Helen Glover (L) and Heather Stanning pose with their gold medals. The duo has claimed Britain’s first gold medals at the Games. AFP photo

Trust Britain’s rowers to get the host nation out of a hole.

Rowing has long been the country’s consistently performing sport at the Olympics, winning a gold medal at every summer games since 1984, and the women’s pair ensured that run continued at London 2012 yesterday.

Under intense pressure - Britain’s two princes, William and Harry, were in the crowd - Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the women’s pair at an atmospheric Dorney Lake, establishing a huge early lead and ultimately winning by a length from Australia. New Zealand took the bronze.

Not only did the win end Britain’s agonizing wait for gold after four barren days of Olympic action, Glover and Stanning also became the first women to win rowing gold for Britain after decades of dominance by men’s crews.

It was truly a landmark win, in many respects.

“I want to collapse, I’m so overjoyed,” said Stanning, who is an officer with the British army.
After crossing the line, Stanning leaned back into the lap of Glover and punched the air. They then cupped their mouths in disbelief.

After all, they were spares for the country’s eight boat only two years ago. “If I can do it, take the chance,” Glover said. “In not just rowing, but anything.”

After the duo received their medals, Glover began to cry.

After gold-medal hopes Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Armitstead (both cyclists) and the diving pair of Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield all failed to top the podium for host nation Britain over the opening four days, the focus had turned to Glover and Stanning.

And the duo responded duly.