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2016 Rio Summer Olympics games: Drysdale sees off European challenge to retain sculls crown

8/15/16
Drysdale sees off European challenge to retain sculls crown

In the men’s single sculls, defending champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand beat Croatia's Damir Martin in a photo-finish to win gold. The race had been billed as a showdown between the Kiwi and his arch-rival Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic, who took the bronze medal.

Martin took an early lead, with Drysdale and Synek in hot pursuit, but the New Zealander moved ahead in the last section. At the line, however, the Croatian shot forward with a final lunge, only for Drysdale to be given the nod by a margin of 5,000ths of a second.

“That was absolutely amazing,” said Drysdale after his photo-finish victory. “I got the feeling (Martin) just passed me and I just chucked in a few short ones in desperation. It was not the way you want to finish, but to come away with that result was fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Martin was left feeling that there was nothing more he could have done to overhaul his rival. “It's one of the perfect ones, where I did 100 per cent, even more. The last 100 metres was incredible, the shouts from the spectators were crazy.”

In the women’s eight, the US crew powered to the gold, to win their third back-to-back Olympic title and extend a 10-year unbeaten run. The Americans finished in 6 minutes 1.49 seconds, 2.49 seconds ahead of Britain.

The American eight - Emily Regan, Kerry Simmonds, Amanda Polk, Lauren Schmetterling, Tessa Gobbo, Meghan Musnicki, Ellie Logan, Amanda Elmore and Katelin Snyder - took the lead in the third section after Canada and the Netherlands made the early running. The British boat, which in the middle 1,000m had been back in last place, came good in the final stretch to claim silver, holding off a late surge from Romania, who took bronze.

It was a second gold for Musnicki and Logan, the only two members of the crew left over from the winning boat at London 2012.

Their team-mate, Polk was in triumphant mood, as she waxed lyrical about the US crew’s latest gold. “I was hyperventilating. It was so amazing,” she enthused. “To do this with everybody in our boat is so special. Fifteen years of rowing, 30 years of family support, and an awesome group of girls who push me every day. No margin is big enough, no stroke is hard enough, but the important thing is we did this together.”

Meanwhile, Great Britain’s silver represented a first ever medal in the event, and was particularly poignant for 35-year old crew veteran Sarah Houghton who had been part of the eight for over a decade.

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