Men’s eight and Twigg win gold in rowing at the Olympics

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In an unforgettable hour at the Tokyo Olympic Games, New Zealand rowers won two gold medals and one silver.

Emma Twigg began the medal rush with a gold medal in the women’s single sculls.

Twigg won the final in an Olympic record time of 7 minutes, 13.97 seconds.

She led from start to finish, finishing 3.42 seconds ahead of Hanna Prakatsen of the Russian Olympic Committee, with Magdalena Lobnig of Austria taking bronze.

Twigg admitted to Sky Sports that she couldn’t believe it.

“All these years many, many disappointments and I just can’t thank the people I have surrounded myself by enough, they’ve got me here, that’s not my result that’s my team.

“I feel like this is fate and here we are, and it’s an amazing feeling.”

Emma Twigg (NZL) gold medal winner in the women's single scull.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Rowing at the Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo, Japan on Friday 30th July 2021.

Photo: Steve McArthur/Photosport Ltd 2021

Twigg was motivated by yesterday’s gold medalists Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast.

“I kinda took inspiration from Kerri and Grace and what they did yesterday, they just held their heads and knew what they could do, I knew prognostically I was close to them in recent times, so if they could do it so could I.

“Honestly to anyone that has had a little bit of failure just keep at it if you believe you can do something and you know your worth then the world’s your oyster.”

It is a medal that has been more than a decade in the making for the 34-year-old.

Twigg finished fourth at the London and Rio Games after falling short of the final on her Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008.

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She retired from rowing after her Rio disappointment and completed a master’s degree in international sports management before returning to the sport in 2019, when she claimed silver at the world championships

Gold medalists New Zealand Men's eight; Matt Macdonald (stroke), Shaun Kirkham, Phillip Wilson, Dan Williamson, Michael Brake, Tom Murray, Hamish Bond, Tom Mackintosh (bow) and Sam Bosworth (coxswain).
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Rowing, Tokyo, Japan on Friday 30th July 2021.

The New Zealand men’s eight with their Olympic gold medals. Photo: Steve McArthur/Photosport Ltd 2021

The New Zealand men’s eight stunned the world to win gold in the final event of the Olympic rowing programme, emulating the feats of the Kiwi crew from the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Sam Bosworth (cox), Shaun Kirkham, Tom Mackintosh, Michael Brake, Matt MacDonald, Tom Murray, Phillip Wilson, Hamish Bond and Daniel Williamson have finished .96 secs ahead of Germany, with reigning Olympic champions Great Britain having to settle for bronze.

They only secured their place in the Tokyo field in May after winning the last chance Olympic qualifying regatta.

The New Zealanders were third after the first quarter of the race, just .45 secs behind Germany before making their move in the second 500 metres.

They took the halfway lead and a slender .07 sec lead over Great Britain, with Germany slipping to third.

The New Zealand men’s eight extended their advantage to 1.31 secs at the 1500m mark before holding on over the final quarter of the race.

It is a third successive gold medal for Hamish Bond, who won the men’s pair with Eric Murray in 2012 and 2016.

Silver medalists New Zealand women's eight; Ella Greenslade (bow), Emma Dyke, Lucy Spoors, Kelsey Bevan, Grace Prendergast, Kerri Gowler, Beth Ross, Jackie Gowler (stroke) and Caleb Shepherd (cox) Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Rowing, Tokyo, Japan on Friday 30th July 2021.

The New Zealand women’s eight celebrate their Olympic silver medal. Photo: Steve McArthur/Photosport Ltd 2021

The world champion New Zealand women’s eight had earlier claimed silver moments after Twigg stood at the top of the Olympic dais, finishing.91 seconds behind Canada and 1.07 seconds behind China.

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Caleb Shepherd (cox), Ella Greenslade, Emma Dyke, Kelsey Bevan, Kirstyn Goodger, Beth Ross, Phoebe Spoors, Lucy Spoors, Jackie Gowler, Grace Prendergast, and Kerri Gowler finished third at 500 metres and halfway before reeling in Australia in the final 500.

They couldn’t, however, catch Canada, who led from start to finish.

Australia faded to fifth place.

It is a second Olympic medal in 24 hours for Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler who won gold in the women’s pair.

Gowler told Sky Sport : “We were putting it all out there and whatever we were going to come across the line at we were going to be happy and it was second and I’m bloody stoked for all of us.”

Pendergast had a similar sentiment.

“I feel like I’m just as stoked with this race as I was yesterday, it’s a silver medal but it was incredible and it was so much fun and I think we’ve just really been a really good bunch together and it’s just so special to come away with a silver medal that honestly feels like a gold.”

Lucy Spoors told Sky Sport the medal was result of years of hard work.

“It has just been such a long project and we’ve been training so hard for three years to put ourselves in a position where we could end up on the podium and I think today I’m most proud of the way that we stayed composed and stayed together so that we could put out the best race that we could possibly have.”

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