Women's 1x: Rutschow-Stomporowski: I am speechlees. It has been a dream since the beginning of my career. Today it came true.
On dominating her race: I would never have guess that it would be that easy. The last 500m was really good. I increased the speed at 1000m. If I would have done that 500m later, it would have been a much tighter competition. Everything went well. I had to keep the others in my vision. When I reached the 1000m I accelerated but not too much to be out of breath.
The single scull permits me to have the largest amount of feeling for the water, my body and shows me my own limits.
On continuing: First I have to celebrate before I think about anything else.
On her feelings before and after the race: It is always the same. The day before I feel rather badly. during the competition everything changes. As soon as I am on the water everything changes and I am alright.
Karsten: It was a very difficult race because the German rower was here. I'm very happy to win a medal.
Neykova: Psychologically, it was a very difficult race, because I was watching the German and Belarussian athlete. When I found my power, I knew that I couldn't beat the German.
Men's 1x: Tufte: What can I say, I won! What i can say, it was my day. I am just happy. Chalupa went down very fast, he was leading the first 100m. He was the one to look out for. So I tried to keept up with his pace. After 400m I thought he would kill me, but then my power was growing and he couldn't follow me anymore. I am very hpayy. Thanks to my family and coach, they deserve the medal more than me.
My dream came true. My start wasn't very good and I felt the pressure from my opponents, but i was waiting four years for this race. I didn't want to wait any more and I gave it all. With the medal I will forget the hard work I have done.
Jaanson: After 700m I thought I could win this race. None of my opponents were far away from me, but then I had troubles to keep up with the speed. It was too fast for me. The last 200m I couldn't keep up. I am still very happy about winning a silver medal at the Olympic Games. It's my first medal in my fifth participation in the Olympic Games. i'm very happy, but now i feel tired. The race was very difficult.
Yanakiev: I was waiting 10 years for this medal. I didn't start well but I was very good at the end of the race. i'm very satisfied. Now, I'm thinking about Beijing.
Women's 2-: Damian: It wasn't an easy race, but I thought that it would be more difficult. I feel very happy. I dedicate the medal to the president of the Romanian team Ion Tyriat.
Grainger: It was a fantastic race, a fantastic result. We won the Olympic silver medal.
Bishop: Thank God I can stand here today. We have been through a lot. It was a fantastic race.
Bichyk: "It's a big achievement. We have not realized yet what happened."
Men's 2-: Tomkins, who turned 39 two days ago: It feels fantastic. I still get nervous and apprehensive. For Drew it is eight years since his last Olympic Games. I don't feel 39.
On destiny: I believe in a bit of that stuff. If Drew was able to row, we wanted to set the record straight from Sydney.
On crossing the line: We were both quite emotional. There is a huge buildup for one opportunity. Our expectations were very high. Looking up the course was very nice.
On continuing to 2008: If we were to continue it would be in a different boat.
On anything left to achieve: It's a hard question. At the moment no. Life is about making the most of an opportunity.
On his injury: Getting back to a quality of life was important for my family. After the Sydney Olympics we vouched we would come back and have a go. It's a good thing we have stuck it out. Atlanta was a high, Sydney was a bit of a low, and today was a near perfect race. To win a gold medal was a lot of fun.
On continuing to Beijing: We think James is going through a midlife crisis. Most people buy fast cars, James joins the Australian Olympic rowing team. He has flagged the idea but his wife said he could take two years off and then see. We have won what we wanted to do.
On emotion crossing the line: I had a little cry.
Sebastien Vieillendent (FRA): We knew we had to adapt the tactics to those of our opponents. The only way to win the race today was to win it in our head really. When we saw there was a headwind this morning we weren't very pleased. As you know we're not the heaviest crew, not the most powerful crew.
On the future: It's complicated for me because I'm engaged to an Australian rower and we are getting married in December. We had a four-year relationship based on the telephone and some trips to Australia. Now it's time to settle down and live as a couple. I think I'll take some time off rowing for my personal life.
Hardy: Before we left, our coach told us that the one who wants it most, gets it. We really wanted it and we got it.
Spik: I'm satisfied with the silver medal, even if I wanted the gold. I dedicate it to my parents, they helped us a lot. I'll probably go to Beijing with my brother, who is nine years younger than me, to win another medal.
Galtarossa: We tried very hard, but unfortunatley we won third place. I'd like to congratulate the French and Slovenian crews for their gold and silver medals.
Georgina: We made our taret, we worked hard for this for a very long time. Our family stood by us; I can't wait to be back home.
Oppel: I feel super. During the race the pressure was very strong. I dedicate the medal to my family. Now I will go on holidays and then I will think about Beijing.
Winckless: It's a fantastic result. It was a tough race, Germany and Bulgaria made things difficult for us, especially in the last 50m. I feel very well, we got a medal, something we wanted.
Pinsent: It was pretty emotional all week. It has only been seven weeks and we set ourselves a strong agenda, and any Olympic final is massively difficult, especially in a race like that.
With 10 strokes to go I looked over and we were down. I couldn't believe that we were down. You can't hear the calls because of the crowd so I lifted it for 30 strokes.
I was totally confident in the second half. We have a quicker second 1000m. I thought we were going to get ahead soon and it went on and on and on. I couldn't believe why they were still ahead.
Then James completely folded and we had to carry him across the line (laughs).
On crossing and not knowing who had won: There were two things in our favor. Our bow was lunging forward and they didn't think they had won either. The only thing that gave it away was when all the Union Jacks went up on the left.
On Alex Partridge: It has been the toughest thing to deal with. Ed Coode is no muppet being an Olympic champion. Alex has been sending us amazing messages.
On the boat being named Alex Partridge: He was the first man across the line.
Asked if it gets any easier at his fourth Games: "it doesn't get any easier. I have been asking myself why not. I said to the crew don't be surprised if I go quiet or that I throw up in the morning paddles.
On retirement: I have no idea. I have always said that the Olympics is not the right time to make a decision. We all learnt from Steven Redgrave in Atlanta - don't open your gob too soon.
Ed Coode: Red reason I carried on for four years is to get this around my neck. I guess the race we did in Sydney will always have a special place in my heart.
Porzio (ITA): In a few days it's my birthday and the medal was the best present. Rowing is a hobby for me and I won a medal, something very difficult to do.
i realized that they were sort of giving me a thumbs up for a great race. We sat there, both crews, and didn't really have any sense of who had won for what felt like 2-3 minutes, then all of a sudden the cheers went up, and I kind of realized, although I want to give all the credit I can to our Canadian fans, we have a great, great support crew, it was a little louder than the two or three hundred people we have here; it sounded more like two or three thousand fans. The flags waving told me that it was a British celebration, and that's when you just sat there and had this tremendous sensation of outputting everything you could put into a race, and letting the cards fall where they may. There was no sense of disappointment, maybe a little amazement that we were that close to a gold medal, but at that point we were merely soaking in the fact that we put 100% effort.
Comment: Pinsent said he thought you had beaten them.
That to me is a compliment from one of the greatest oarsmen of all time, to say that we were that close to beating him, and that we put that kind of fear in him, means that we really raised our game. I'd love to tell you that we're a bunch of superstars, but we're not, I'm just a yahoo who decided to get back into the sport because maybe I'm not good enough for professional football or something like that. That's my excitement, that I'm on the same stage as a phenomenal athlete and performer, and we went neck and neck with them all the way.
Will the silver always seem the same as gold?
The reality is... well, the eight tomorrow, the eight will bring home the gold, I have complete confidence. They've been training for four years, we've been training for two, so I think they'll be able to get eight one-hundredths of a second out of those two years. But the reality is that the silver medal to me represents the performance of a lifetime. It's very, very significant to have that medal. Without that medal, fourth place, I'd have to convince you guys that it means something. But all I have to do is hold this up, and you guys all go, hey, well, he has something to show for his effort. So it is very satisfying, and really, bronze, silver or gold, I felt like we raced our hearts out.
It's not a color, it's a reward for your efforts. If I had gotten a gold medal, and I had raced as hard as I did today, I wouldn't feel any different. I wouldn't be more ecstatic than I am now, because I would have raced identically.
Does that mean that there are no winners and losers?
No, there is a winner; the British crew won today. Pinsent is a phenomenal athlete, recognized worldwide, he rowed with Redgrave, and he is the winner, but I don't feel like the loser. I feel like I competed against the best, and had a very, very satisfying performance.
In the last 500 meters, you seemed to find another gear in the last 100 meters; where did that come from?
Our coach has told us a story that you won't have enough room to print, but basically, imagine yourself in the desert, right? And you are absolutely exhausted, you have no energy left, and then all of a sudden, a hundred meters away, is a tiger, and it's coming at you, and it's going to kill you. You start running like the wind! That's what happens in that last 100 meters of the race; you dig within and you find something extra. I'm really happy to hear you say that there was something there, because in my mind, we raced straight through. I don't feel like we sat back and then went, I felt like we went all the way. So if it looked like we went extra hard, that's a real satisfying moment, because it didn't feel like there was anything left to go.
Can you tell us about your hair?
Last year I decided to go with this type of hairstyle. People felt that it was a little cocky, and I realized at that point that I wasn't doing it for any other reason than that Jake is one of the most incredible athletes in the world. He has the capacity to outperform anyone out there. Lance Armstrong has redefined the concept of max VO2; I bet on a good day Jake could rival him. Wo what I realized is that the best thing for Jake to perform is to have a focus, so I gave him a straight line to focus on. And I decided to put some red in it today because I'm proud to be Canadian.
US Light Women's Double
Is winning the B final consolation to you as a crew?
Stacey: Bittersweet, bittersweet. We wanted to be in the A final and have a go at the medals, but I think that there's still something to be said for going out there to win the B final, making a statement, and trying to be in the action, so yes, it was.
It's hard to win any race at the Olympics; was that fun?
Lisa: It was a blast (laughs). Any race you can win is nice. We've come second, we were fourth; it was nice to win one.
How did this race develop?
Stacey: We just went. The Brits were there, the Canadians were there the whole race, and we were pushing to get ahead. We followed our plan, and it worked.
Was there any challenge to your position at the end?
Lisa: Uhhh... I don't know! We made a really good move with about 250 to go, and tried to hold onto that, because at the end...
Stacey: I thought we got a little bit more of a lead in the last 250, which was nice, but the last ten strokes, whew! (laughs)
Diversity in Gold
There were seven events and seven different countries in the gold medal spot today. Two Bulgarian single scullers won bronze; not bad at all.
Italian LM2x stroke Leonardo Pettinari had to withdraw from the B final due to a broken rib, and was replaced by Nicola Moriconi.
Take The Time to...
On the medals dock, Jake Wetzel put his face right into his bouquet to smell the flowers; something right about that.
Crowds Show Up
The stands were finally full today, I'd say at about 90-95% capacity. Folks showed up early, too; the Canadian men's four was out in the morning and did a sprinting piece to the finish, and the Canadian "Support-oars" cheered them on like it was race time. You could see the adrenalin surge in the boat.
Men's Single Ceremony
So much for he-man event; the men's single ceremony may have been the most touching ceremony, save for Matt Pinsent's near-breakdown as he sobbed on the medal stand, head down; Olaf Tufte had tears streaming down his face the entire time, and Juri Jaanson signaled to Yanakiev spontaneously to lift Tufte in the air as he wiped away the tears.
Men's 2x Photo?!?
For about 10 seconds, the scoreboard had both the Norwegian and US doubles exactly 8.09 behind the leaders, by all appearances a repeat of their dead heat from the semis. A correction soon followed, putting the American in sixth, the Norwegians in seventh in the seven-boat final.
Men's Pair Does Not Include Canada
Straw poll from courseside and emails: almost everyone wanted the Canadian pair to be able to row the A final, but lots of folks I've heard from, from lay rowers, retired Olympians, and more, believe that the FISA's decision was consistent with the rules. I would conjecture that even FISA wanted to let them row, but could not find a way to do so within the rules (thus the exception to allow them to row in the B final). In any case, a copy of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's ruling can be found here; thanks to Ron Chen for the link.
A big group of NZ supporters did a 45-second long Haka ceremony when the NZ women's 2x arrived on the dock; whew, these guys were serious.
Must Be The Light
There's no question, something special was jumping off the folks who made the medal stand today. It's hard to tell if it is the glow of an Olympic medal, or something in their life force that got them there in the first place, but you could probably say that none will ever look so good as they do on the day they win an Olympic medal.