Published Thursday 02 August 2012

Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won New Zealand’s first gold medal of the 2012 Olympics with a magnificent come-from-behind victory in the men’s double sculls at Eton Dorney today.
The win set off scenes of jubilation and delight among a large group of New Zealand supporters at the rowing venue.
Cohen and Sullivan, the world champions in 2010 ad 2011, looked to be struggling early in the final, but timed their run home to perfection and ended up winning with room to spare.
“It’s better to win ugly than not all,” said a delighted Cohen, 26, afterwards.
Sullivan, 25, said: “I didn’t expect this, but everything came together today.”
The New Zealanders got away slowly and at the 500m mark were in sixth and last place, more than two seconds behind the fast-starting Slovenian pair.
By the halfway point Sullivan and Cohen had dragged themselves up to fifth, but they trailed by 3½ seconds and a medal looked unlikely.
Gradually the New Zealanders’ strength began to tell.
At the 1500m point they’d moved into fourth and were mounting a serious challenge. Ahead of them the Slovenians were fading fast and the Italians and Argentinians ahead were showing signs of strain.
Over the final 500m the New Zealanders were magnificent. They covered that distance in 1min 33.90s, more than three seconds faster than any other crew. “The last 500m was where they paid and we benefited,” said Sullivan.
Cohen and Sullivan won in 6min 31.67s. Italians Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti were second in 6min 32.80s and Slovenians Luka Spik and Iztok Cop were third in 6min 34.35s.
The gold is New Zealand’s second rowing medal of the Olympics, following the bronze won yesterday by Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh in the women’s pair. It is the 18th rowing medal won by New Zealand at Olympic Games.
Cohen and Sullivan have set up New Zealand well for several more big rowing finals including, tomorrow, Mahe Drysdale in the single sculls and Eric Murray and Hamish Bond in the men’s pair.