The U.S. women’s eight delivered on their status as the pre-Olympic favorites, breaking open a close race just after the halfway point to bring home the gold ahead of Great Britain and Romania. The crew of coxswain Katelin Snyder, Amanda Elmore, Elle Logan, Meghan Musnicki, Tessa Gobbo, Lauren Schmetterling, Amanda Polk, Kerry Simmonds and Emily Regan pulled away from early leaders Canada and the Netherlands to establish control of the race enroute to gold.
"You could feel all nine of us fighting to push our bow ball forward, push our bow ball forward, and it was our goal to stay very internal, because we knew that it was going to be a tight race," said Musnicki. "It was very important for us to listen to Katelin and do it as one. We had a heat where we were pretty far out, and we knew that this was not going to be the same way."
This is the third consecutive Olympic gold medal for the United States in this event, and the U.S. has now extended its unbeaten streak in world- or Olympic competition to 11 years. U.S. rower Logan captured her third consecutive gold medal in this event, while Musnicki took her second.
A brilliant race from U.S. women’s single sculler Gevvie Stone brought her a silver medal behind pre-regatta favorite Kim Brennan of Australia, who followed up her silver from London 2012 with gold here in Rio. The U.S.’s Stone held off a strong challenge from China’s Duan Jingli to seal her podium finish.
"Once I was at the 1250m I knew I was in a good position," Stone told WorldRowing. "It means everything to me. So many years of hard work. My dad is my coach, and my mom rowed too. Everyone has helped me along the way.”
In the men’s eight, Great Britain stormed ahead early ahead of 2012 Olympic champions Germany and medal contenders the Netherlands and U.S. and finished strongly to take their first gold medal in this event since Sydney 2000. Germany finished in silver medal position, while the Netherlands took the bronze.
Great Britain became the second country after Germany to complete the full four year cycle of world championship and Olympic racing unbeaten. "From the first stroke just go and don’t look back," Great Britain rower Will Satch told WorldRowing after the race. "Coming into the finish it was surreal. I couldn’t believe it and still can’t believe it."
The U.S. men’s eight finished fourth for the second consecutive Olympics. The Rio Games marked the first non-boycotted Olympics since 1912 in which the U.S. men have failed to bring home any medal.
In one of the closest finals in Olympic men’s singles history, New Zealand’s Mahe Drysdale defeated Croatia’s Damir Martin at the finish by less than one one-hundredth of a second to win his second Olympic gold medal after taking gold at London 2012. London silver-medalist Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic was third.
Drysdale also set the new Olympic best time of 6:41.34 in his event in the win.
“Full credit to Damir, that was a hell of a race," Drysdale said to WorldRowing. "I had no idea, I got the feeling he passed me, I threw in a few short ones to try to finish it. It is nice to win a close one."
Great Britain topped the medal table at the 2016 Olympic rowing regatta, capturing a total of five medals, three gold and two silver. The U.S. finished with one gold and one silver.