In a remarkable regatta with two days of cancelled racing and a Men’s single sculls final won by less than the length of a bow ball, athletes from The Boat Race picked up eight medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
On Friday, Constantine Louloudis (OUBC 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015) and George Nash (CUBC 2011, 2013, 2014) won Gold along with their teammates Alex Gregory and Mohamed Sbihi after winning the final of the coxless four. The Britons were leading from 500 metres but the Australians started to encroach upon them in the second half of the race. The crew held on to win Great Britain’s fifth consecutive coxless four title.
Today saw the final of the Men’s eight containing already double Olympic champions Andrew Triggs-Hodge (OUBC 2005) and Pete Reed (OUBC 2005, 2006) alongside Tom Ransley (CUBC 2008, 2009) and Paul Bennett (OUBC 2013) in the Great Britain crew going for gold. They were the fastest boat out of the heats and earned their well-deserved spot in the Olympic final, expecting to be challenged by the Germans and the Dutch. Britain led from the start, with a margin of almost a length to the Germans at halfway which they held to 1500m. In a dominating display they held the margin to the finish to win Gold and become Olympic Champions, with the Germans second and the Dutch third.
Zoe De Toledo (OUBC cox 2012) and Zoe Lee (OUWBC 2008) along with their crew mates booked their spot in the Olympic final after winning their heat. In the final their main competitors for Gold were the USA who were led by Canada into 500m. Britain were last at the half-way mark and looked unlikely to fulfil their potential of winning an Olympic medal, but a huge effort in the third 500 saw them move up into third by 1500m then on into second to claim the silver medal, the first medal of any kind for Great Britain in the women’s eight.
Great Britain were not the only crew containing Old Blues in the Men’s Eight, however, as the US crew included this coming season’s OUBC President, Michael DiSanto and former Cambridge Goldie cox Sam Ojserkis. They came second behind Germany in their qualifying heat but went on to win the repechage ahead of the Dutch. In the final they finished fourth.
Charles Cole (OUBC 2009) in the US men’s coxless four came third in their qualifying heat which took them to the semi-finals to fight for the remaining places in the Olympic final. However, they came fourth in their heat which took them to the final B where they won, taking overall 7th.
George Bridgewater (OUBC 2009) and his crew in the quadruple sculls did not initially qualify for the Olympic regatta but were called up last minute when the Russian crew were deemed inegible to race by the Olympic Committee. After coming 4th in their qualifying heat, they had to go through repechage to fight for the two places in the Olympic final. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be but they ended up coming 4th in the final B and 10th overall.
Michelle Pearson (OUWBC 2015) qualified for the quarter finals after coming in third place behind Karsten from Belarus. She just missed qualifying for the semi-final A/B by less than a second after Carling Zeeman from Canada. Michelle eventually reached Final C placing fourth and 16th overall.