Gold-medal redemption for Canadian men's eight
The men’s eight rowing team finished the job they started four years ago by winning a gold medal on Sunday.
Canada led wire-to-wire in the final race at Beijing’s Shunyi Olympic rowing park. Taking the silver was Great Britain and taking the bronze was the U.S.
Canada finished in a time of five minutes, 23.89 seconds.
"We never stopped, we just kept on pushing, every stroke," said coxswain Brian Price.
The reigning world champions were seeking redemption for their crushing defeat in Athens in 2004, when they entered as medal favourites and finished fifth.
"In Athens, it was a very hard-fought race. It was one where we were behind, and we had to fight back. Here we dominated, and that is such a testament to what a great crew this was," said Jake Wetzel.
Since their disaster in Athens, the crew has toiled under the single-minded focus of winning in Beijing.
"Gold medals are awarded in the summer, but they’re earned in the winter. That was four years of hard winters," said Kyle Hamilton.
The eight have not lost a race over the past two years. They also dominated their opening heat Monday in Beijing, opening up a full boat-length lead at the halfway mark of the 2,000-metre race before cruising to a seven-second victory.
Canada's semifinal time of five minutes, 27.69 seconds advanced it straight to the final.
"It’s been a long week since we had our heat, and then just such a build-up to sit around all day, and then for that five minutes – flat out. It was just an incredible experience," said Wetzel.
The men's team consists of Ben Rutledge of Cranbrook, B.C., Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C., Malcolm Howard of Victoria, Andrew Byrnes of Toronto, Wetzel of Saskatoon, Dominic Seiterle of Victoria, Adam Kreek of London, Ont., and Hamilton of Richmond, B.C.
The Canadian women's eight finished fourth in their final race on Sunday, in a time of six minutes, 8.04 seconds.
The women almost clinched the bronze, but were overtaken by the Netherlands just before the finish line.
The Netherlands surged to take the silver, while the Americans took the gold and Romania took bronze.