Great Britain has owned this race since the 2000 Olympics. Before that Australia had won. These two crews continue an ongoing rivalry that saw them finish in gold and silver at the London Olympics. Today the two crews sat next to each other in the centre lanes. Moving out early, as has become their signature, was the British crew of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Constantine Louloudis. They got to the 500m mark ahead of Australia’s William Lockwood, Joshua Dunkley-Smith, Joshua Booth and Alexander Hill. Then Australia did a kick and the British and Australians moved into a stroke-for-stroke battle that saw them move clean away from the rest of the field.

Australia’s stroke rate was just a bit higher than Great Britain’s but the British held the lead by just a nose. This was going to be a full 2000m battle for these two crews and it was starting to look remarkably like a repeat of London 2012. Behind them the reigning World Champions Italy held on to third.

The crowd was on their feet as the close of the race came into view. Ratings rose. Great Britain had done it. Olympic Champions in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. It would be hard to find a longer winning streak. And the common denominator – coach Juergen Grobler.

Results: GBR, AUS, ITA, RSA, CAN, NED

George NASH (GBR) – gold

“It was so nervy, this whole week, the venue, the pressure. With the cancellations for a few days and not knowing how fast we were going to be on the day. It feels incredible.

I would say that pressure really is more about gambling that four years of your life for six minutes of racing . That pressure overrides any sense of historical significance. It is more what do we stand to lose, we stand to lose that four years. That personal pressure that you put on yourself outweighs the history of it.”

Alex GREGORY (GBR) – gold 

I count these guys (Australia) as my mates. It is hard racing your mates. Out there on the water we don’t hold back. It is rivalry as it is in any sport. It is nice to come off the water and congratulate each other. We all spend the same amount of time, are after the same dreams, sometimes I wish they would go a little bit slower. They are proper good guys and real good competitors and it has been a pleasure racing them.”

Will LOCKWOOD (AUS) – silver

“Obviously at the start you want to win. We had a great race. It is hard to be disappointed with that. We’ve got beaten by an incredible British crew. I am so proud of my teammates.” 

Giuseppe VICINO (ITA) – bronze

We really wanted to get a medal. We really put a lot of heart and emotions to get back into the race.

Domenico MONTRONE (ITA) – bronze

“I just want to say that the three of them (my teammates) are just fantastic. I was very well accepted by the other guys.

Our stroke (Vicino) is complete crazy, the last 500m, he is terrible, he is crazy. Have you seen us sprint?! Matteo is very serious. Domenico is strong. I think that this is a fantastic team.” 

 

B-final

At the London Olympics the United States took the bronze medal. This time they were vying for spots seven to 12 in the world. The United States got away the quickest and led a tightly packed field through to the 500m mark.  Margins continued to remain close with Russia tracking in second and just three seconds separating the field at the half way point.  In the final sprint the field remained close with ratings getting into the high 40s. The United States held on. They become seventh in the world.

Results: USA, GRE, BLR, RUS, FRA, GER