New Zealand’s two eights crews went desperately close to providing two more Olympic rowng gold medals today.
Following directly after the exciting single sculls gold medal effort of Emma Twigg, the New Zealand women were edged into silver place by Canada, and then the New Zealand men stormed home to take gold.
In the space of an hour New Zealand had won two golds and a silver and were the toast of the rowing world.
The men – Tom Mackintosh, Hamish Bond, Tom Murray, Michael Brake, Daniel Williamson, Phillip Wilson, Shaun Kirkham, Matt Macdonald and cox Sam Bosworth – took a while to impose themselves and at the 500m were third behind Germany and Great Britain.
But the New Zealanders really put the foot down in the middle stages of the race and by 1500m had opened up nearly a length lead over Britain.
The Germans came home very fast and Britain were also quicker than New Zealand in the closing stages, but the New Zealanders had enough in reserve to reach the line nearly a second ahead of Germany.
New Zealand recorded 5min 24.64s, Germany 5min 25.60s and Britain 5min 25.73s.
New Zealand had finished second in their heat, improved to win the repechage and looked mighty powerful today, evoking now dimming memories of the fantastic 1972 New Zealand rowing eight that won gold at the Munich Olympics.
For Bond, 35, it was a third Olympic gold medal, following the two he won with Eric Murray in the pair, in 2012 and 2016.
The New Zealand women’s eight only narrowly failed to make it three golds for their country today.
New Zealand – Ella Greenslade, Emma Dyke, Lucy Spoors, Kelsey Bevan, Grace Prendergast, Kerri Gowler, Beth Ross, Jackie Gowler and cox Caleb Shepherd – were in third place for the first 500 metres, behind Canada and Australia. But once things settled down the race developed into a duel between New Zealand and Canada.
They’d met in the heat when New Zealand had edged home. This time Canada started faster and it was New Zealand playing catch-up.
Over the final 500 metres the Canadian began to fade, while New Zealand and China closed.
The Canadians hung on to win in 5min 59.13s from New Zealand, 6min 00.04s, and China, 6min 01.21s.
For two of the New Zealand crew, Prendergast and Kerri Gowler, that gave them a silver medal to add to the gold they won yesterday in the pair.
Earlier New Zealand's Jordan Parry won the men's single sculls C final, placing him 13th overall in the event.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games