Australia produces new ‘Oarsome Foursome,’ times two

Jul 27, 2021, 11:04 AM | Updated: 11:33 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Australia swept the men’s and women’s fours at the Tokyo Olympics, creating comparisons to the country’s once-dominant “Oarsome Foursome” — times two.

Britain lost a race it dominated for 20 years as a steering problem nearly caused a crash with Italy. And a haul of four medals for the Netherlands eased the struggles of a rowing team that has been wracked by COVID-19 cases since it arrived at the Olympics.

And don’t forget the records smashed in a ripping first day of racing in hot, windy and choppy conditions at Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday. The first six races of the Games produced six Olympic or world records.

The crew from Down Under had quite a day with four medals overall, starting with back-to-back gold in the women’s and men’s fours. The women had barely stretched past the Netherlands for the gold by .37 seconds when the men pulled off the upset of the day minutes later.

The Australians dethroned a Britain program that had won five consecutive gold medals in the men’s four. The last team to beat them at the Games? Australia’s “Oarsome Foursome” that won gold in 1992 and 1996.

“We’re just super grateful to be sitting in that boat,” Australia’s Alex Hill said. “Those legends before us have achieved what they have, so it was just amazing to put it back where it belongs.”

Britain, which started next to the Australian boat, faded badly over the final 500 meters and didn’t win a medal. At one point, their boated veered off course and touched an oar in the Italian boat, which had been running second before the incident dropped them to the bronze medal. Britain fell to fourth.

“We cost them a silver. Sorry to those guys,” British rower Matthew Rossiter said. “We just let the concentration go and drifted across a bit. It’s an outdoor sport, and this stuff happens, but it’s heart-breaking when it’s you.”

Matteo Lodo of Italy was frustrated by the contact.

“The last 500 meters we were very fast. So Great Britain, very, very, very unfair today,” Lodo said. “They hit Matteo (Castaldo’s) blade. Everything was lost.”

That wasn’t Italy’s only problem. Castaldo said he was having breakfast with Bruno Rosetti when his teammate received a phone call that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t race. He had to be replaced at the last minute.

Romania started the day’s blistering pace when precocious 22-year-old teammates Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis dominated the women’s double sculls from start to finish, setting an Olympic record of 5 minutes, 32.03 seconds.

The 2019 world championship silver medalists turned their steady march to Tokyo into a blowout in the Olympic final.

“We’ve worked very hard for these three years. We realized that we are very strong and together we did it,” Radis said.

The French duo of Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias kept up the Olympic record-setting pace in the men’s double sculls, holding off a late charge from the Netherlands over the final 50 meters to win by 0.2 seconds.

The world records were the next to fall.

The Netherlands did it first in men’s quadruple sculls, with a burst over the final 500 meters to win the country’s first gold medal in Tokyo. Their time of 5:32.03 beat the previous mark of 5:32.26 set by Ukraine at the 2014 world championships.

The Dutch matched Australia’s four-medal haul with one gold, two silver and one bronze. Despite being nipped at the finish line for gold in two races, the overall performance was a boost for a team that has already had a men’s rower and women’s coach test positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Tokyo.

The entire Dutch team has since been kept away from other teams and staff when not racing.

“It’s very hard that they can’t be here today on the most important race of our life, but at the same time we know that they’re watching us, they know what we have to do and we did it,” said Roos de Jong, who paired with Lisa Scheenaard to win bronze in women’s double sculls.

China wrapped up the medals races by setting the world record in women’s quadruple sculls to win the gold medal, finishing in 6:0.13 to shave nearly two seconds off the previous mark set by the Netherlands in 2014. Poland was more than six seconds behind in winning silver.

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) passes in front of Washington Wizards center ...
Associated Press

Minnesota star Towns helped off with right leg injury

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns had to be helped off the court in the third quarter at Washington on Monday night because of an apparent right leg injury. Towns was well behind the play during a Washington break and grabbed his knee area. After a 3-pointer by Kyle Kuzma, play stopped with […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Former NFL football quarterback Brett Favre speaks with reporters prior to his induction to ...
Associated Press

Favre asks to be dismissed from Mississippi welfare lawsuit

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre is asking to be removed from a lawsuit by the state of Mississippi that seeks to recover millions of dollars in misspent welfare money that was intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S. An attorney for Favre filed papers on Monday saying […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Christon scores 15, Grambling downs Dartmouth 73-49

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Cameron Christon’s 15 points helped Grambling defeat Dartmouth 73-49 on Monday night. Christon added seven rebounds for the Tigers (4-3). Virshon Cotton scored 15 points and added five rebounds and three steals. Carte’Are Gordon shot 5 of 12 from the field to finish with 12 points, while adding 11 rebounds. Ryan […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Johnson’s 27 help UC Davis knock off Boston University in OT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ty Johnson’s 27 points helped UC Davis defeat Boston University 81-70 in overtime on Monday. Johnson also had six rebounds for the Aggies (6-2). Robby Beasley III scored 15 points and added 10 rebounds. Christian Anigwe shot 4 of 8 from the field and 2 for 7 from the line to finish […]
18 hours ago
Attendees watch a pre-recorded video during a memorial service in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, N...
Associated Press

Virginia football team to attend 3rd funeral in 5 days

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s football team will travel to its third funeral in five days Wednesday to honor the life of Lavel Davis Jr., who was fatally shot on a bus along with two teammates after they returned to campus from a field trip. Davis, 20, and teammates D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were […]
18 hours ago
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson stands on the field during an NFL football practice at ...
Associated Press

Texans brace for Deshaun Watson’s return with Browns

HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson was a star with the Houston Texans. Then he became disgruntled and later disgraced. After sitting out an entire season, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns. There, he has missed most of another as punishment amid sexual misconduct allegations. Come Sunday, he’ll be back in H-Town, taking snaps in […]
18 hours ago
Australia produces new ‘Oarsome Foursome,’ times two