Canada wins gold in rowing women's eight at Tokyo Olympics; U.S. finishes fourth

Canada won the rowing women's eight gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, storming to an early lead and holding off New Zealand over the final 200 meters on Thursday.

The victory ended American dominance in the event. The U.S. had won three consecutive Olympic gold medals but fell to fourth at the Sea Forest Waterway. The Americans were dropped by the leaders early and were never in medal position for the entire race.

China finished third for the bronze medal.

Canada won its first gold medal in women's rowing since 1996.

"I just really believed in our boat. The women really believed in me," Canadian coxswain Kristin Kit said. "The strength of this crew showed through, because every time I made a move call it responded."

Teammate Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski marveled at just being on the medal podium. She had been injured in a serious bicycle crash shortly before the Olympic team was selected.

"Six weeks ago I was told I was lucky to be alive, and when they made the team announcements I was literally limping out of the hospital with a broken collarbone," she said. "I just can't believe I'm here."

Men's eight

New Zealand held off a late charge from Germany over the final 250 meters to win.

The Kiwi boat beat the Germans by 0.96 seconds. Great Britain rallied late to take bronze in the men's eight.

"The way that we were rowing it was long and strong. It didn't feel hectic in my seat. It was a comfortable ride," said Hamish Bond of New Zealand.

The U.S. finished fourth, leaving American rowers without a medal in Tokyo.

Women's single sculls

New Zealand's Emma Twigg won gold, bolting to an early lead, then finished with a surge over the final 500 meters to dominate.

Twigg had finished fourth in the previous two Olympics but easily shrugged off Russia's Hanna Prakatsen, who won silver.

"I didn't hear the buzzer, so I crossed the line and thought that I had stopped too early," Twigg said.

Magdalena Lobnig of Austria won bronze.

Men's single sculls

Greece's Stefanos Ntouskos made a strong closing burst over the the final 250 meters to win.

Ntouskas led early only to see Norway's Kjetil Borch begin to close the gap with 500 meters to go. Ntouskas then found the late power to pull away and build a lead as large as a boat length down the stretch.

Borch won silver. Croatia's Damir Martin rallied late to take the bronze.

Ntouskos switched from a lightweight quadruple sculls boat to the single in 2019, and he said the extra year of training due to the delay caused by the pandemic helped him prepare.

"I was in better shape this year," Ntouskos said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.