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British foursome continue Redgrave’s legacy  

 

All British rowers live in the shadow of Steven Redgrave, one of the most revered Olympians of the modern era.

Redgrave won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games, his glorious career at the highest level ending with the coxless fours victory at the Sydney Games of 2000.

With Redgrave retired and another giant of British rowing in the team, Matthew Pinsent the coxless fours retained the title with a stunning row in Athens four years later.

The weight of history pressed heavily on the shoulders of the four rowers who attempted to make it a hat-trick of golds in 2008 at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Only Steve Williams remained from the quartet which won gold in 2004, and this time Andy Hodge, Peter Reed and Tom James were his team-mates.

Where the success of Redgrave’s boats had been based on metronomic, high-velocity pace, the British crew at the Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park were eventually forced to rely on a lung-bursting surge in the second half of the final to secure their gold.

The team had endured an inconsistent season with Hodge and James suffering injuries which meant the first time the top four had started a race together was in Beijing.

Under the watchful eye of coach Jurgen Grobler, the four progressed serenely through the heats and semi-finals to book their place in the six-boat shootout for gold.

The main competition was expected to come from Australia, whom the British boat had beaten handsomely in the semi-finals, and Slovenia.

However nobody expected the Australian four to go out at quite the pace they did. The quartet surged to almost a boat length clear by the halfway stage and British hopes of a third straight success looked forlorn.

However a superbly timed surge cut the deficit down and with 200m to go it was clear the British momentum was going to carry them home.

As the Australian four tired, Britain made the front in the final section of the race and eventually ran out winners by over a second.

The foursome were at a loss as to explain where they had summoned the reserves of energy for the push over the last 250m, and Redgrave, working as an analyst for TV, was as proud as any of the hundreds of vocal supporters who lined the course as another British gold was secured.

 
   

43 Highlights

  • Opening Ceremony
  • Katerina Emmons - women’s 10m air rifle
  • Salukvadze, Pederina praised for gesture
  • Dutch end long wait for relay gold
  • Korean archery domination continues
  • Aussies edge Americans in scintillating relay
  • India's first individual gold medal
  • Coughlin again thwarts fast-finishing Coventry
  • Benjamin Boukpeti
  • Rice hits golden hat-trick in 4x200m relay
  • Phelps rewrites Olympic record books
  • China wins maiden team gymnastics gold
  • Steffen completes comeback with golden double
  • Andrunache emerges from Ignat’s shadow
  • The oldest winner of the women’s table tennis singles
  • Lightning Bolt electrifies Bird’s Nest
  • Roger Federer
  • British foursome continue Redgrave’s legacy
  • Zagunis leads U.S. clean sweep in sabre
  • Guo glitters in Water Cube
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Fraser leads unique Jamaican treble
  • Rebecca Romero
  • Reborn Taylor takes second hurdles title
  • Incredible Lezak puts Phelps on road to eight golds
  • Hoy joins cycling greats
  • Liukin follows in father’s footsteps
  • Jones heartbreak evokes Devers as Harper takes gold
  • IOC’s helping hand guides Nikpai to bronze
  • Bolt overcomes Johnson’s legendary 200m mark
  • Japan rock U.S. with softball win
  • Chausson, Strombergs grab first BMX golds
  • Campbell-Brown retains 200m crown
  • Steve Hooker
  • Jamaican foursome break world record
  • Perfect Walsh, May-Treanor star on the sand
  • Hellebaut raises the bar in battle with Vlasic
  • Korea ends baseball’s Olympic era with Cuban upset
  • Hungary secure stunning water polo hat-trick
  • Party atmosphere as curtain drawn on Beijing
  • Kanayeva waltzes to rhythmic gold
  • Mighty France thwart giantkillers Iceland
  • US restores basketball pride