Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Lake Sidney Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia
Date Started: July 22, 1996
Date Finished: July 28, 1996
The women’s coxed eights at the 1996 Summer Olympics had many contenders, including the Canadians, who were the defending Olympic champions and brought two members from their 1992 crew, Jessica Monroe and Lesley Thompson-Willie, to Atlanta. At the World Championships, however, 11 of the last 12 medals had gone to three nations, Romania, Germany, and the United States, each of whom had won one edition of the tournament. The Netherlands was the odd nation out, having taken bronze in 1995. In the opening round, the heats were won by Belarus and Romania, the latter of whom posted the fastest time, while Germany was eliminated in the repêchage. In the final, the Romanians were absolutely dominant, taking the gold medal by a margin of over four seconds. Five members of their crew, Veronica Cochelea, Elisabeta Lipă, Marioara Popescu-Ciobanu, Doina Ignat, and Elena Georgescu, had won Olympic medals in various events at previous editions of the Games. The Canadians, meanwhile, had a more difficult time keeping the Belarusians at bay and managed to win silver by only 0.39 seconds. Belarus, who took bronze, captured its second Olympic rowing medal as an independent nation, the first having come from Yekaterina Khodatovich, who won gold in the women’s single sculls.