Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, Schinias National Park
Date Started: August 15, 2004
Date Finished: August 22, 2004
Romania had won the women’s coxed eights at the last two Olympics, but its dominance at the World Championships had been challenged in recent years, as it had been runner-up in 2001 and 2003 and not even reached the podium in 2002. Only Germany, the reigning World Champions, had earned medals in each of the last three years, as it had been a bronze medalist in 2001 and 2002. Australia, meanwhile, had been World Champion in 2001 and runner-up in 2002, while the United States had won in 2002 and Canada was the 2003 third-place finisher. Canada’s Western Rowing Club & Victoria City Rowing Club had also taken the Remenham Challenge Cup at the 2003 Henley Royal Regatta.
The Americans won their heat in the opening round in Olympic record time, defeating both Romania and Australia in the process, while the Dutch, who had not seen the podium in this event at the World Championships since 1995, took the other heat. In the final, however, Romania mustered its strength reserves and captured the gold medal by a margin of nearly two seconds, after having gone neck and neck against the Americans for much of the race. The United States, meanwhile, nearly lost its silver medal to a strong drive from the Dutch crew, who came on strong in the final section of the course and missed second place by only 0.29 seconds, settling instead for bronze. Two members of the Romanian crew, Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu, had won the coxless pairs event earlier in the Games, while Elisabeta Lipă won her record eighth gold medal, at the age of nearly 40, five of which had been gold, including her first in the double sculls from 1984.