Team GB’s men’s eight closed the rowing events at Rio 2016 in impressive style, claiming Britain’s third rowing gold in two days.
Having just watched the women’s eight make history by landing silver, the men took their final by the scruff of the neck, leading throughout the contest before crossing in 5:29.63 minutes.
The Brits have been the dominant force in the men’s eight since finishing third at London 2012, winning World Championship gold in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
But while defending Olympic champions Germany beat the 2016 Olympic crew at this year’s European Championships in Brandenburg, the Brits showed their class to reverse the placings in Rio, finishing 1.33 seconds ahead of them as they came through for silver.
The crew was made up of Scott Durant, Tom Ransley, Andrew T Hodge, Matt Gotrel, Pete Reed, Paul Bennett, Matt Langridge, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill.
Hodge and Reed land gold for the third consecutive Games after victories in the coxless four in 2008 and 2012 while it was also a third medal for Langridge, who won silver and bronze with the men’s eight in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
And the 33-year old from Northwich admitted victory had helped heal the wounds of disappointment from finishing third in London.
“It’s been a long time coming for me,” said Langridge. “What a way to finish. That’s been worth the wait.
“I was disappointed to miss out twice with the silver and bronze but that was worth it
“I knew we would win from the first stroke. There was no way it was getting away from us this time.
“In terms of the rowing, it didn’t feel like our perfect row but we weren’t going to let that one go.
“We were so up for it. We knew we had the speed. We knew what we had to do and we were so confident. The Germans weren’t going to come back – not this time.
“That last 400m from London has haunted me for four years and going into this, we knew they have a strong finish.
“But this time there was so much in the boat. So much belief and hunger that there was no way they were coming back.”
It was a poignant gold for Hodge, who won world titles with the eight in 2013 and 2014 but saw his Rio ambitions hanging in the balance after missing the 2015 season with glandular fever.
And the 37-year-old admitted his latest prize held equal standing with golds at his debut Olympics and his home Games.
“That’s right up there, both with Beijing and London,” said Triggs Hodge. “All three of my medals sit side by side.
“It was an incredible row. The heart and passion, the soul that people put into that race was phenomenal and it was exactly equal to the other gold medals from the Olympics that I have achieved.
“I’m proud to have been with such an outstanding crew and the eight, more so that the fours, is a wholly team event. Only teams win that, no individuals.
“We absolutely delivered for each other. It was incredible.
“We know Jurgen [Grobler, head coach] has wanted this for a long time. His whole strategy for the last four years has been building up to this, starting in 2013 when he prioritised the eight.
“He knew the talent and depth he had in the team. This is not a flash in the pan idea. It’s a genius at work and that’s Jurgen Grobler.”
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