Rowing Wrap: Brennan ends rowing’s gold medal drought

Published 22 August 2016 (AEDT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13: Kim Brennan of Australia reacts to winning the gold medal in the Women's Single Sculls Final A at Lagoa Stadium August 13, 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. © 2016 Getty Images

ROWING: Australia’s Olympic rowing won its first gold medal in eight years with Kim Brennan winning the women’s single sculls, while the men’s four and the men’s quadruple sculls won silver.

The last time any Australian woman won an Olympic gold medal in rowing was when Megan Marcks (née Still) and Kate Allen (née Slatter) took home the gold in the women’s pair from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Brennan was delighted with the gold medal, but was humble nevertheless about her achievements.

"I'm so chuffed to have a gold medal but the message I'd send to everyone out there is the person doesn't change because of a medal,” said Brennan.

“Hats off to everyone who puts a good showing of themselves out there.”

Brennan admitted that staying calm under pressure was key to her success over the course of the event plus her spectacular rowing performances in the past 12 months that saw her crowned as the 2015 world rowing champion.

“One of the dangers of a sport like ours is to have expectations of where you will or won't be,” he says.

“I remember last year [at the world championships] I wasn't leading through the 1000 but still felt really comfortable. [She won].

“This sport has always been about getting the most out of myself and being really calm under pressure when it matters. I was just fortunate I was able to stay clean.”

Joining Brennan on the podium this week were silver-medal winning crews in the men’s quadruple sculls and the men’s four.

The section’s performance at this Games is a clear improvement from the last Olympiad.

Australia’s men’s four of Alex Hill, Josh Booth, Josh Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood battled valiantly with Great Britain in their final with the British coming out the ultimate victors. The Brits have won the men’s four title for five consecutive Olympic Games.

The men’s quadruple sculls of James McRae, Cameron Girdlestone, Alexander Belonogoff and Karsten Forsterling upgraded Australia’s London 2012 bronze medal to a silver after a hard fought battle with the German crew who claimed back-to-back titles.

The remaining Australian crews had mixed results. The men’s pair of Alexander Lloyd and Spencer Turrin, the only other crew to make an A-final. The crew finished in sixth overall in what proved to be a race dominated again by New Zealand.

The women’s double sculls of Sally Kehoe and Genevieve Horton finished third in the B-final of their boat class while their male equivalent of David Watts and Chris Morgan won their B-final. Rhys Grant, who qualified late for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the men’s single sculls, secured third place in the B-final of his event.

The women’s quadruple sculls of Madeleine Edmunds, Jennifer Cleary, Kerry Hore and Jessica Hall had a tough ride in their repechage to miss out on a spot in the A-final by a mere six hundredths of a second.

Finally, Australia’s women’s eight, who were a late inclusion to the Olympic Team after the exclusion of Russia, finished seventh overall. The crew of Charlotte Sutherland, Lucy Stephan, Olympia Aldersey, Molly Goodman, Meaghan Volker, Alexandra Hagan, Jessica Morrison and Fiona Albert put in a gallant effort in both the heats and the repechage despite having only trained together for two weeks. 

Lucy Benjamin

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