Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Lake Sidney Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia
Date Started: July 21, 1996
Date Finished: July 27, 1996
The defending Olympic champions, Canadians Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle, elected to compete in the double sculls instead (where they won gold), leaving the field for the women’s coxless pairs at the 1996 Summer Olympics somewhat more open. As reigning World Champions, Australians Megan Still and Kate Slatter were probably the favorites, although they were certain to face a strong challenge from France’s Christine Gossé and Hélène Cortin, the 1993 and 1994 World Champions. In fact, Gossé had come in third at the 1995 edition only in Cortin’s absence. The United States, the reigning Pan American champion, brought its 1995 World runners-up Missy Schwen and Karen Kraft to Atlanta. The only other nation to have won a World Championship medal in the last three years, Romania, sent sisters Liliana and Angela Cazac.
The Australians got off to a strong start in the opening round by posting the fastest time, while France and the United States won the other two heats. The United States, however, mounted a serious challenge in the semi-finals and overtook the Australians to win their heat, while France coasted to an easier victory in its heat and Romania was eliminated. It might have seemed that the Australians were merely conserving their strength but, in the final, they went head to head against the Americans. Although they won gold in Olympic record time, they did so by only a 0.39 second margin of victory. The United States thus took silver and France, who had the only crew anywhere near the two front runners, captured bronze.
1996 Quadruple Sculls, Women