Image: Steve Elliott / Wikimedia Commons
Image: Steve Elliott / Wikimedia Commons

Tokyo 2020: GB men’s eight take bronze

Great Britain’s men’s eight crew took bronze in the final race of the Tokyo 2020 regatta.

They were just pipped to the silver by Germany, while the New Zealand team took the gold.

The British men’s eight crew were well placed at the hallway stage of the 2,000m race, but New Zealand took charge with 500m left and then Germany surged in the final stages.

This was Team GB’s second rowing medal in Tokyo, their lowest total at a Games since the same number at Atlanta 1986 and the first time since 1980 that they failed to win an Olympic rowing gold.

Team GB was the leading rowing nation at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, claiming six, nine and five medals respectively.

The news came after Vicky Thornley was edged out of a medal in the women’s single scull, defeated in the race for bronze by Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig by 0.67 seconds. New Zealand’s Emma Twigg won the gold, while the ROC’s Hannah Prakatsen won silver.

After the race, Thornley said: “I knew I was racing for bronze, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t think gold or silver were attainable. It was about me and Lobnig. I thought she would go out hard again but that I could reel her back in. Fair play to her, she’s an awesome athlete. Maybe I let it get away a bit too much in the first bit but I was confident I could come through in the second half. In the last 100 I just fell away.”

Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist and UK Sport chair, insisted winning only two medals in Tokyo is “not a disaster”: “Six fourth places are so close, but so far. We’ve been spoiled by rowing for so many Games but it takes a while to build and we will build again.”

An inquest into British Rowing’s showing is now underway – the sport received £24.6m over the Tokyo Olympic cycle, more than any other sport, but its contribution to the medal table is poorer than any since the 1972 Games.

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