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
Germany, East or unified, had won the women’s quadruple sculls event at the last four Olympics and 13 of the last 15 editions of the World Championships, making them strong favorites to continue their streak at the 2004 Games. The nation had had no recent challengers who had proved consistent, although it had lost the 2003 World Championships to the Australians and the Belarusians, the first time it had not placed within the top two since the World Championships began in 1974 (if one considers the 1978 silver medal that went to West Germany as part of the nation’s rowing history). In Athens, however, three members of their crew, Meike Evers, Manuela Lutze, and Kerstin El-Qalqili, were returning from the 2000 event, while the fourth, Kathrin Boron, was a three-time Olympic champion in the double (1992 and 2000) and quadruple (1996) sculls. TSSKA Ukraine, meanwhile, had won the inaugural Princess Grace Challenge Cup at the 2003 Henley Royal Regatta.
In the opening round, Germany had little trouble winning its heat, while Great Britain, the reigning Olympic runner-up, posted the fastest time. In the final, the Germans won comfortably and were followed by Great Britain in the silver medal position. The Ukrainians, meanwhile, came up from behind the Australians in the final portion of the course and beat them to the bronze medal by 0.38 seconds. After the race, however, Ukraine’s Olena Olefirenko tested positive for etamivan, leading to the disqualification of her entire crew and the awarding of the bronze medal to Australia.