Tokyo 2020 delivered a memorable Olympic rowing regatta. Memorable not only for the feats of returning champions, but also by the athletes who put the names of their countries onto the Olympic rowing map for the first time.
In the women’s eight, Canada were ahead after an awesome display of power from the start line. They never looked back, holding off the challenge of reigning champions New Zealand at the line. It was the first Olympic title for Canada in the women’s eight since 1992.
The United States, three-time defending champions in the women’s eight, finished off the podium in a disappointing upset.
Two of New Zealand’s silver-winning eight also won gold in the women’s pair: Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler.
In the women’s single sculls, Emma Twigg set a new Olympic best time to win her first Olympic gold medal, one of three golds won by New Zealand, the most successful team at the Sea Forest Waterway.
In the final race of the regatta the New Zealand men’s eight took the top prize. The team included double Olympic medalist Hamish Bond, who added a third gold to his haul. It was the first gold for the New Zealand men’s eight since 1972.
Stefanos Ntouskos will forever be known as Greece’s first Olympic rowing champion. He challenged and beat the favorites in the men’s single sculls. The Greek rower beat out Kjetil Borch from Norway and Croatian Damir Martin. Ntouskos, at just 24, may be a force for years to come.
In the women’s lightweight double sculls, Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini won Italy’s first-ever medal in women’s rowing and made it a gold one.
In the men’s lightweight double sculls, Paul O’Donovan, who had won silver with his brother back in Rio, won Ireland’s first-ever gold medal in Olympic rowing with Fintan McCarthy. They broke the world record for good measure.
Four was the magic number for Australia as they won gold in both the women’s and men’s four. The men’s boat won for the first time in 25 years.
Croatian brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic won gold in the men’s pair. They had also won gold in Rio in the men’s double sculls. They joined a rare group of rowers to win golds in more than one category.