Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Lake Sidney Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia
Date Started: July 21, 1996
Date Finished: July 27, 1996
All three medalists from the women’s single sculls event at the 1992 Summer Olympics returned to compete once more in Atlanta. Defending champion from Romania Elisabeta Lipă had not had a World Championship podium finish since Barcelona, but boasted five Olympic rowing medals across various disciplines. Belgian Annelies Bredael, the runner-up, had won bronze medals at the last two Worlds, while Canadian Silken Laumann, who had finished in third despite a near career-ending injury two months prior to the Games, was now the reigning Pan American champion and World runner-up. Trine Hansen of Denmark and Maria Brandin of Sweden, the 1994 and 1995 World Champions respectively, were also at the 1996 Summer Olympics and would certainly be in contention for medals.
The opening heats were won by Brandin, Hansen, and Belarus’ Yekaterina Khodatovich, a bronze medalist in the quadruple sculls from the 1992 Games. In the semi-finals, both Bredael and Lipă were eliminated in heats won by Laumann and Hansen, thus ensuring that there would be at least two new medalists in the event. The final was fairly spaced out, and it was Khodatovich who was dominant, winning gold by a margin of nearly three seconds, her country’s first Olympic rowing medal as an independent nation (its women’s coxed eight crew would also take bronze later in the tournament). Laumann captured silver, still an incredible accomplishment considering her injury from four years ago, when she sustained an open tibia fracture with personal nerve damage and, as she later recalled, “[t]he muscles on the outside of my right leg were peeled back and hanging down to the ankle … the doctors thought I would never row again.”. Hansen, meanwhile, nabbed bronze nearly 5½ seconds ahead of Brandin.
|5||Guin Batten||28||Great Britain||GBR|
|6||Ruth Davidon||32||United States||USA|