Tokyo Olympics 2020: Great Britain rowers win surprise sculls silver after men’s four heartbreak
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Great Britain’s proud golden run in the Olympic men’s four came to a disappointing end but a surprise silver in the men’s quadruple sculls lifted the gloom for British Rowing.
The men’s double sculls, men’s four and the women’s four finished in fourth place but there was a significant silver lining in the very next race as Harry Leask, Angus Groom, Tom Barras and Jack Beaumont finished second in the quad.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- The quartet of Oliver Cook, Matthew Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie could only finish fourth in the men’s four
- Britain had won gold in the four at the last five Olympics – a run started by Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, Tim Foster and James Cracknell in Sydney in 2000
- They had looked set for silver behind Australia but the effort of chasing for gold cost them and they crashed into the Italian boat in a shambolic finish
- The emotions were, of course, very different for the men’s four, who were all too aware of the legacy they were trying to continue
- The women’s four of Rowan McKellar, Hattie Taylor, Karen Bennett and Rebecca Shorten were not fancied to get a medal but came extremely close, finishing just over a second behind Ireland in fourth place
What’s been said
By contrast to the four, it was Britain’s first Olympic medal in the event, and Beaumont said: “We’re hugely proud. We’ve worked so hard. We’ve been part of a rowing team that’s had huge success, a huge tradition of British rowing.
“But, in our sculling team, there’s a tradition of being in the shadows a little bit. We’ve built on years of hard, hard work and near misses and I’m so proud to get this silver medal. It’s the start of a new history, and that’s awesome.”
Rossiter added: “We tried our best but we really screwed up there at the finish so it’s a bit heartbreaking. There’s no sugarcoating it – we’re absolutely devastated.
“We’ve done so well in the last two years and then when it actually matters we f****d it up.”
While this is clearly not going to be remembered as a great regatta for Britain, there are a number of medal chances left.
Helen Glover’s hopes of a third gold alongside Polly Swann in the women’s pair remain alive after they finished second behind Greece in an exciting semi-final.
And the lightweight double sculls team of Emily Craig and Imogen Grant looked hugely impressive in winning their semi-final in a world best time, while the men’s eight made it through the repechage.