Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, Schinias National Park
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 21, 2004
Reigning Olympic champion Georgeta Andrunache of Romania had found a new coxless pairs partner in Viorica Susanu after the 2000 Games and, together, they had won the 2001 and 2002 World Championships. Although they had only come in third in 2003, they were still considered strong favorites for the 2004 Olympic crown. Their greatest challengers would likely be Katherine Grainger and Cath Bishop, the Britons who had stolen their World title in 2003. Yuliya Bichik and Nataliya Gelakh of Belarus, meanwhile, were the reigning World runners-up. In the opening round, the Belarusians defeated the Britons by a considerable margin to post the fastest time of the round, while Romania bested its nearest competitors, Canadians Darcy Marquardt and 2000 coxed eights bronze medalist Buffy Williams, by nearly 13 seconds. The podium finishers were somewhat closer in the final, but, once Belarus and Britain had passed the Canadians in the final quarter of the race, each finished without too much trouble from another crew: Romania won gold, Britain captured silver, and Belarus took bronze.