Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Lake Sidney Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia
Date Started: July 22, 1996
Date Finished: July 28, 1996
Women’s lightweight rowing events were held for the first time at the Olympics in 1996, but they had been held at the World Championships since the mid-1980s. Colleen Miller and Wendy Wiebe of Canada had won the event at the last three editions of the Worlds and were the strong favorites to take the inaugural crown in Atlanta. In the opening round, however, they were outperformed by Constanţa Burcică and Camelia Macoviciuc of Romania, as well as Berit Christoffersen and Lene Andersson of Denmark. The Danes were the reigning World runners-up, while Burcică was a 1992 Olympic silver medalist in the quadruple sculls. The Canadians heat was also the slowest of the opening round, with both the Americans, 1994 World bronze medalists Lindsay Burns and Teresa Bell, and the Australians, Virginia Lee and Rebecca Joyce, posting faster times than the Romanians as they won their heats. The Americans and the Australians were again the heat winners in the semi-finals, the latter of whom helped to eliminate the favored Canadians. The situation turned again in the final, when Romania regrouped and captured the gold medal by a margin of nearly two seconds. The Americans, in winning silver, were almost two seconds ahead of the Australians, who battled the Italians down to the line to take bronze with only 0.27 seconds to spare.