Helen Glover and Heather Stanning defended their Olympic women’s pair title to become Team GB’s first rowing gold medallists of Rio 2016.
The British pair dominated from start to finish, pulling nearly two seconds clear at the 500m point before extending their lead to four seconds at the half-way 1000m marker.
New Zealand’s Genevieve Behrent and Rebecca Scown closed the gap in the final stretch, but the Brits held on to win in 7:18.29 from the Kiwis’ 7:19.53.
The pair’s victory in London four years ago was the first Olympic gold for British women’s rowers, meaning Glover and Stanning are the first Team GB female back-to-back Olympic rowing champions.
The victory continues an impressive unbeaten run of 39 races for Glover and Stanning, which includes the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships, as well as the European Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The success quickly continued on the Lagoa for Team GB with the men’s four making it five Olympic titles in a row with Rio 2016 gold.
Team GB Rio 2016 medal tally: Gold: 6. Silver: 6. Bronze: 6. Total: 18.
Helen Glover said: “It’s really difficult to put this feeling into words. When you become Olympic champion once, it’s something you feel like you’ve managed to do. You’ve managed to put in the number of races and amount of training you need to win an Olympic title.
“But when you set your sights four years in advance and it’s not managing to do it but to defend your title is something very, very special.
“The first time we did it, it took a long time to realise we were Olympic champions and it was all new to us.
“This time round, we crossed the line and we were 2016 champions and we felt like that straight away.
“It’s that real realisation and I think we both felt it more this time round. This was a bigger feeling than even at a home Games – it’s amazing.
“We feel privileged to be able to do this. It’s a privilege to represent your country, race the best in the world and do it for a living.”
Heather Stanning said: “At the moment we want to enjoy what we’ve done today, take stock of ourselves away from this environment and not make any rash decisions.
“We’ve worked very hard to get this record and to be where we are. We’ve had some fantastic opposition over the years.
“It’s a tough event and you’ve seen while we’ve been in the event, that everyone has put up different pairs and it’s pushed us on.
“Without Robin [Williams], we wouldn’t be the crew we are. He’s 100% the third person in that boat so thank you to him for everything.”
Report courtesy of Team GB