Australia has won its first-ever gold medal in the women’s four rowing, after a nail-biting finish saw the Aussies hold on against the Netherlands boat at the line. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.
It’s just the second time this event has been scheduled at an Olympic Games for women, with the first and only coming in Barcelona 1996 where-in Canada took out the gold medal.
Aussies set an Olympic Best time
The Australian girls started out brilliantly in the first 250 metres of the 2000 metre race, as every boat launched with a strong tailwind.
They took the lead early with a rapid stroke rate that tipped the scale at over 40 strokes per minute to pull away to a length in front at the halfway point of the race.
The Netherlands boat, however, fought back hard and fast in the third 500 metres. It closed the gap to the Australian boat in a very quick time as it started its sprint, and it looked like the Australian four wouldn’t be able to go with the Dutch. But go with them our girls did.
Australia responded by shifting gears and setting itself for the finish. With under 250 metres to go, the Aussie four started to pull away again with determination and found themselves with nearly a second lead as they closed in on the finish.
The Netherlands gave the Aussies one more push, but weren’t close enough and Australia glided through the finishing line in front.
The women’s four took out the final in a time of 6:15.37, which broke the Olympic Record they had set just two days prior. It was 1.01 seconds off the world record time that New Zealand holds from 2014.
The Dutch took out the silver medal just 0.36 seconds behind, while Ireland trailed the boats by two lengths to grab bronze.
Job not done for two of the crew
The Australian crew of Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre join the Golden Girls of the pool to have claimed the ultimate success at Tokyo 2020.
Stephan won the women’s fours at the World Rowing Championships back in 2019, but the rest of the crew had not experienced success in the women’s four before today. Popa, Morrison and McIntyre were in the boat at the World Rowing Championships that finished second in the women’s eights.
For Morrison and McIntyre, the celebrations will be short-lived. They take to the water again for Australia this afternoon in the women’s pairs semi-final. In their heat, they finished first with a time of 7:21.75, over a second quicker than the second-placed Russian Olympic Committee.
The event started an incredible run for Australia in the morning of July 28th, with the men’s four backing up the Australian women’s achievements by claiming gold in the proceeding race, and Ariarne Titmus becoming a two-time Olympic Gold medalist in the women’s 200-metre freestyle in the pool.
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