Bronze medals for Britain's rowing doubles
Britain's rowers produced a splash of Olympic bronze at the Shunyi rowing lake.
Saturday 16 August 2008
First, Elise Laverick and Anna Bebington conjured up a storming surge to take the bronze in a dramatic finish to the women's doubles sculls.
Then Matt Wells and Stephen Rowbotham made it a double celebration when they too came third in the men's double sculls.
But it was Laverick and Bebington, who emulated the Olympic bronze they won in Athens and came so close to making it even better, who were involved in the most drama.
They missed out on gold by just 0.23 seconds with New Zealand twins Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell successfully defending their Olympic title but only by one hundredth of a second from Germany's Annekatrin Thiele and Christiane Huth taking the silver.
For Laverick and Bebington it was reward for their perseverance after disappointing in their heats but bouncing back in the repechage to qualify for the final.
Their preparations had been disrupted in the winter when Bebington contracted a protracted virus but they had won the World Cup in Poznan, albeit in the absence of the Chinese, to signal their challenge.
This time they came back strongly after lying fourth deep into the race to power past the China crew and almost spring a major surprise.
Bebington said she was "over the moon" after a late burst secured a spot on the podium.
"We had the best race we ever had. It's galling: I am always in those finishes and always seem to be the wrong side of the margin. But it's an Olympic bronze medal."
Laverick added on BBC One: "I shouted with 250m to go 'we can do this'. I really honestly thought we were on a charge but we just left a little bit too much to do. But it's Anna's first final and everything else and the pressure was really there. It was a cracking race and it was a really good race."
In the men's doubles sculls David Crawshay and Scott Brennan of Australia took the gold medal, leading all the way to win in 6 minutes, 27.77 seconds.
Crawshay and Brennan led at every 500-meter mark to win a six-boat field that had no strong favorite. They weren't very well known coming into the event, but now they have Olympic gold.
Tonu Endrekson and Juri Jaanson of Estonia won the silver medal in 6:29.05. Matthew Wells and Stephen Rowbotham of Britain are the bronze medalists, crossing the line in 6:29.10.
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