Racing was the men’s quadruple sculls, men’s pair, women’s double sculls and men’s single sculls. At the end of racing Germany would get to the top of the quad podium, New Zealand’s Bond and Murray would establish their legendary status in the pair, Katherine Grainger would become the darling of British rowing, Poland would earn their first medal for women in rowing and Mahe Drysdale would become a New Zealand legend.

Due to the changing wind direction the B-finals were delayed by 30 minutes with lanes being redrawn to advantage those that had done the best in the previous rounds. The A-finals also had a redraw of lanes. The changing weather meant that each race received slightly different wind conditions with a mixture of side, cross , head and no wind at the Eton Dorney course.

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Final
The Germans had a plan. Right from the word go, they were going to be in the lead and they were going to stay there. Karl Schulze, Phillipp Wende, Lauritz Schoof and Tim Grohmann of Germany were second in the world last year after a crab just before the finish line robbed them of first place to the Australians.

The Germans put that result well behind them and, in a

Germany’s Karl Schulze (b), Philipp Wende, Lauritz Schoof and Tim Grohmann (s) compete against Croatia, Estonia, Great Britain, Australia and Poland at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.

beautiful display of synchronised sculling, they remained in front. This is the first Olympics for Grohmann and Schulze who were racing as under-23s in 2008. Schoof was a junior in 2008 and Wende had not yet made a German national team. By the middle of the race Germany had left the five other crews to form a line behind them with maybe 2010 World Champions, Croatia showing. The Croatians were going after the first ever rowing gold for their country and the crowd was waiting for them to relax.

Then Croatia, in the final 500m, began to move. They moved away from Australia who were now doing battle with Estonia. Germany, however, rating 37, remained in the lead. Croatia went to 41 and tried to close the gap. They couldn’t. Germany are the Olympic Champions. Croatia took silver and Australia was the bronze medallists.

Tim Grohman (GER) – GOLD
"This year we were second three times, so our hope was to win here. We wanted to win gold."

Martin Sinkovic (CRO) – SILVER
"Before the start of the race the wind was blowing behind us so we went with shorter oars. Then at the start the wind turned round so we had to work harder. But congratulations to Germany."

Daniel Noonan (AUS) – BRONZE
"Three of us raced in 2008, we were tipped for a medal and then we came fourth. We're very happy just to be medallists. A couple of us will probably retire – who knows? We might get bored and be back in a boat within a month."

The 2004 Olympic Champions, Russia, went out really hard in the semifinal, but they paid dearly for their early pace and thus ended up in today’s B-final. Today Russia went out hard again and had a full boat length lead for a lot of the race. Ukraine also went out hard, but their early pace started to take its toll and through the middle of the race Ukraine began to slip back.

New Zealand took advantage of the fading Ukrainians and John Storey, Michael Arms, Matthew Trott and Robert Manson pushed into second. Could Russia hold on to the end? In the final sprint Russia’s Ryabtsev, Svirin, Morgachev and Fedorovtsev (two who are gold medallists from 2004), remained with their nose in the lead. But New Zealand had upped their stroke rate and were charging. At a 41, then 43 stroke rate New Zealand had got their nose ahead with 20m left to row. Russia hung on but will finish eighth overall for these Olympic Games.

Robert Manson (NZL)
"We're happy, obviously. We wanted to win the B final and make a statement and show that we felt like we could have been in the A final. We've finished on a good note. As a crew we don't prefer a headwind and it was quite heavy out there, but we fought through it and gave it everything we had and came through with the win"

Sergey Fedorovtsev (RUS)
"The last two years, we didn't have a race with crosswind. We didn't know how to deal with it."

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Final
New Zealand’s Eric Murray was once asked, who does he most like to beat. His answer, “France”. At the start of this race Germaine Chardin and Dorian Mortelette of France had the lead. It must have helped to fuel the New Zealand fire. The unbeaten New Zealander’s Murray and Hamish Bond now really began to move. Chardin and Dorian tried to hold on but it was now Great Britain’s George Nash and William Satch who were moving.

A huge piece at the 1200m mark propelled the young duo of Nash and Satch into second. This was a phenomenal position for Nash, 22, and Satch, 23, who were both rowing at under-23 level last year. 

Eric Murray (b) and Hamish Bond (s) of New Zealand celebrate winning gold in the men’s pair Final A at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.

Had Chardin and Mortelette given away too much too soon? The duo were part of their country’s bronze medal 2008 four and after the French four did not qualify for the Olympics last year, Chardin and Mortelette moved into the pair to qualify for London at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in May.

In the final sprint Murray and Bond continued on in unbeatable form. This incredible crew are unbeaten since coming together in 2009 and they earned the World and Olympic Best Time earlier this week. Now they were minutes away from Olympic Champion status.

Meanwhile both France and Great Britain were fighting it out for silver. As the last 100m came into view Great Britain went crooked going into New Zealand’s lane and thus dealing with their wash. But Nash and Satch fought on. What a finish! At the line Bond and Murray earned New Zealand’s second gold at this rowing regatta, France had earned their first medal at this regatta and Great Britain, in third, had absolutely proved themselves.

Hamish Bond (NZL) – GOLD
"It is what we've been working for for the last four years. I'm so glad we pulled it off. We've been on tenterhooks all week, I'm so pleased we came through."

Germain Chardin (FRA) – SILVER
"We usually start a race quite fast. In the semifinal we were a little slower, but here we wanted to really go for it. In the last 500m it is so loud, like an arena. We couldn't hear each other but we just focused on making the difference between bronze and silver."

George Nash (GBR) – BRONZE
"We had belief in ourselves. We love rowing. It's a pleasure."

Serbia’s Nikola Stojic had withdrawn for medical reasons leaving five boats to race this B-final. With the country’s named read by the starter, all five crews flew out of the starting blocks.

It was Poland that grabbed the bull by the horns and took off in a commanding lead at the start. But the margins were close and by the half-way point Nikolaos and Apostolos Gkountoulas of Greece had pushed into the lead. The Gkountoulas brothers were unlucky not to be in the A-final after finishing fourth in the World last year and consistently being near the medals over the last couple of years.

Then around the 1200m mark Anton Braun and Felix Drahotta of Germany pulled out a huge piece to get their boat into the lead. But there was less than two seconds between the top four boats going into the final sprint. The finish would be down to the best sprinters. Greece went to 37, Germany was at 36 and the United States (Thomas Peszek and Silas Stafford) came storming through at 41. Braun and Drahotta held on to first to finish seventh overall at the London Olympics.

Felix Drahotta (GER)
"We saw the Greek crew fighting in front of us. We knew we could take them. We started three times to get them, (and) the third time we did. It worked really well. Greece are strong at the start, but we knew we could be better at the end."

Silas Stafford (USA)
"It's the most amazing thing. We get off the bus at eight in the morning and the crowd is going nuts. Nowhere in the world, not in the NBA, the NHL or even the Premier League is the crowd out cheering at eight in the morning. And cheering for everyone. They might be a bit louder for the British crews but they are cheering for everyone."

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Final
Hearts were in the throats of all British rowing supporters for this race and the whole of Scotland. Great Britain’s Katherine Grainger, the most successful British woman rower was aiming for her first Olympic gold medal following three silvers. No other race mattered over the last decade-plus of internationals racing for her. This was it.

With partner Anna Watkins, Grainger took her boat into the lead using a fast 48 stroke rate start. From this point they made their intentions clear to the rest of the field. They knew that Australia’s Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley would chase hard and they were

Kim Crow (b) and Brooke Pratley (s) of Australia cross the line second in the women’s double sculls Final A at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.


Going through the middle of the race Grainger and Watkins were still in the lead settling into a 36 stroke rate pace, higher than their usual race pace, Grainger and Watkins remained ahead of Crow and Pratley who were firmly in second.

It has been quite a road for Crow and Pratley to get to this Olympic final. An injury for Pratley earlier this season meant that Crow went to an Olympic contingency plan of qualifying for the Olympics in the single. Crow is competing in both events here.

Behind these two leaders New Zealand, China and Poland held a close battle. Poland then broke free, but coming into the final sprint Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska of Poland looked exhausted. They were just holding on.

Meanwhile, to the roar of the crowd, and millpond conditions over the last 200m, Grainger and Watkins rowed to victory. Crow and Pratley took silver and Fularczyk and Michalska hung in there for Poland’s first medal at this regatta. Grainger had won her first Olympic gold in her fourth attempt. Today she became Great Britain’s rowing hero.

Poland’s Magdalena Fularczyk required medical attention, absolutely exhausted after the race and was brought to the medal ceremony in a wheelchair.

Anna Watkins (GBR) – GOLD
"We had a great race. There is so much trust and confidence in each other. We didn't know what conditions we were going to get, but it was fine. We knew we'd win from halfway. It's a dream come true."

Kim Crowe (AUS) – SILVER
"That was fantastic. An amazing race. Those girls were phenomenal. That's the classiest race I've ever been part of."

Magdalena Fularczyk (POL) – BRONZE
"I'm very tired. This moment is great for us."

After an early lead by 2011 World Champions in the quad, Tina Manker and Stephanie Schiller of Germany took off in the lead of the doubles B-final. Manker and Schiller had been trialling for their country’s priority boat, the women’s quad, but ended up being selected for the double.

Coming through the middle of the race sisters, Lenka and Jitka Antosova had pushed into the lead. The duo raced at the Beijing Olympics, but illness before the A-final meant that Jitka had to drop out. Once in the lead the Antosova’s looked in great form and at a 34 stroke rate they moved away from the rest of the field. Opening up to a full boat length lead it looked like no one could catch the Czech’s.

Inge Janssen and Elisabeth Hogerwerf of the Netherlands gave it their best shot to close on the leading Czech’s, but they couldn’t dent it. The Antosova sisters finish seventh in the world.
Results: CZE,NED, GER, UKR

Jitka Antosova (CZE)
"Well, it's the B final, but we won, so we are happy with it. Of course, we would be more happy with an A final, but this is a good result."

Tina Manker (GER)
"We were not happy about the crosswinds, but we came off the start pretty well. But, unfortunately, we weren't able to keep up with the two boats in the middle. When we reached the crowd, it was amazing. We're just happy, now that the whole competition is over, that we were allowed to row here."

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Final
This probably marks the strongest final in this boat class ever raced. World Best Time holder and World Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand lined up against Beijing silver medallist and 2010 World Champion, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic. Always chasing these two front-runners was the best British sculler, Alan Campbell. Joining them was four-time Olympian and medallist from the 2000 Olympic Games, Marcel Hacker of Germany. Then there was regular A-finalist and the best of Sweden, Lassi Karonen with phenomenal newcomer Aleksandar Aleksandrov of Azerbaijan.

Jumping off the start was Hacker, hoping to get an early advantage with the rest of the pack (minus Aleksandrov) following in a virtual line. Then as Hacker started to lose steam, Aleksandrov moved up with now Drysdale, rating an incredible 37 stroke rate through the body of the race, in the lead. At the half way point less than two seconds separated the top five boats with just Hacker off the pace.
Drysdale continued to hold a phenomenal 37 stroke rate pace in these cross head-wind conditions with Synek trying to hold on at 36.

Coming through to the final sprint Drysdale was still in front with Karonen now giving it his all to push into the medals ahead of Campbell who was now in third. Karonen managed to get his nose in front as Campbell fought back.

Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand celebrates winning the Final A of the men’s single sculls at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.

Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Drysdale was hanging on by the skin of his teeth, he had almost run out of steam and his stroke rate had dropped. Synek was hanging on as well as Campbell and Karonen battled for third. At the line Drysdale had done it; from bronze in 2008 to gold in 2012. New Zealand has a new rowing hero. Synek won the first medal for the Czech Republic at this regatta and Campbell got the first Olympic medal in single sculling for Great Britain since 1928.
The effort of the race showed as both Campbell and Drysdale had trouble making it to the medals podium. As Drysdale was hoisted in the air by Synek and Campbell, all of the pain was forgotten.

Mahe Drysdale (NZL) – GOLD
"That was one of the toughest races of my life. I had absolutely nothing in that last bit. I knew I had a medal, but I just had to hold on. I've been waiting for this for 12 years. I had all my family and friends here, and the crowd was amazing – this is an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life. This is really what I needed to achieve for my career."

Ondrej Synek (CZE) – SILVER
"I'm very happy, but I wanted gold, like everyone here. It's the second silver for me."

Alan Campbell (GBR) – BRONZE
"It's hard to describe how you feel. I was thinking about my mum and dad and my wife, it's been really tough, I've spent five months away from my wife. Win or lose, I felt like I'd won today because the support iv'e had has been second to none. I hope I've made other people proud."


In 2004 Santiago Fernandez of Argentina finished fourth. He came back for Beijing but did not finish the regatta. Fernandez then retired from rowing coming back this year for London. Fernandez jumped out with Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis and by the first 500m mark 2008 Olympic eighth place finisher, Griskonis had got into the lead.

Then Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez put the pressure on. Fournier raced at the 2008 Olympics and then went on to medalling for the first time at the World Rowing Cup earlier this season. Today Fournier, rating 36, was on fire. As the race progressed Fournier was pulling away from Griskonis. A crab by Griskonis at the 1400m mark barely impacted him and he continued on in second.

In the sprint to the line reigning Olympic Champion (for another hour anyway) Olaf Tufte of Norway really turned it on. Rating 41 Tufte closed on the two leaders. Fournier and Griskonis held off Tufte. Fournier improved on his 2008 result, while Griskonis matched his and Tufte slipped down the ranks.

Angel Fournier Rodriguez (CUB)
"I'm very happy about how I raced, I felt on OK form. I'm not staying around, I leave (London) on the 5th (August), I'll have a month off and then I'll be back to train for other competitions."

Liang Zhang (CHN)
"The competition was very tough. The difference between me and the top rowers is too big, I still have to improve."

Olaf Tufte (NOR)
"I managed to build myself up after the third world cup. I was feeling good, I was flying in the boat. But then something happened. I don't know what. I fumbled the semi."