After placing second in the heats, and then clawing their way to the second of two advancing spots in the rep, the US women's quad came out today shadowing the storied German quad for about 800 meters, pulled even before the 1000, and then put their bow ahead for good on their way to the United States' first-ever gold medal in the women's quad.
Germany has been almost unbeatable the past couple years, but once the US crew got their bow ahead, the evidence on the jumbotron it didn't look like Germany was going to have an answer this time, and it looked the same to US two-seat Tracy Eisser.
"Around the thousand I looked out and we had two seats or something, and I thought okay, we know that we have a strong third 500," she said. "We train all year to make the middle thousand our best part. so when we were up at the thousand I thought we can do this, we can keep going."
She didn't only think it; apparently she said it.
"I think Tracy actually yelled, "Guys, we are going to be world champions!" at around the thousand," Elmore recalled.
"I started laughing!" stroke seat Liv Coffey exclaimed. "I just got the chills; then we had to do it."
The US crew then motored away from the field, then held their lead with few serious challenges to the end; Germany took silver about a half length behind, followed by the Netherlands for bronze.
The US W4x reacts on the line
"We went out there and laid it down from the first stroke, which is what we wanted to do," stroke seat Liv Coffey said. "We wanted to be aggressive from the start, and I could feel in in the first 500 when we were with the pack, I just had this sense that we were going for it, and it went from there."
It's not often that a crew places second in the heat, second in the rep, and then wins from an outside lane, but the crew was determined to put their best on the water today.
"All week we didn't quite have the result that we wanted, so we were working pretty hard the past few days to make sure that in the last one we could come out and do exactly what we wanted, leave it all on the water," Eisser said. " I'm really happy that we were able to come out and do that today."
No historic win is complete without a glitter bomb!
"It wasn’t exactly ideal, but I think even though we lost those races, and it wasn’t by very much," two seat Amanda Elmore said. "I think we always knew we could win, we just let them get us a little bit (in those races). We never lost our confidence."
"That’s what we wanted to do today, and I’m glad we came out and executed everything we talked about," three-seat Megan Kalmoe said. "Liv did a great job laying down a rhythm, and these guys backed us up; can’t ask for more than that."
It fell to the new kid in the boat not to make it look too easy; moments after she crossed the line, bow-seat Amanda Elmore let go of her oar and caught a monster crab to put an immediate exclamation point on the gold medal effort.
"It is all a blur; I saw we crossed the finish line and I just let go!" she said after safely back on shore. "I barely remember!"
It is well known that three-seat Megan Kalmoe has been a big fan of rowing the pair in recent years, and after the race today one wag asked her point blank, "So… pair or quad?" Her teammates all cried out "Ooooohhhhh!!!" before Kalmoe replied "Today, the quad."
With the US's first –ever quad gold medal around her neck a few minutes later – and a few minutes after that, covered in glitter from a glitter bomb detonated by fellow gold medalist Grace Luczak - it was definitely a good day to row the quad.