Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, Mapo, Shunyi
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 16, 2008
[Georgeta Andrunache] of Romania, a two-time Olympic champion in the coxless pairs, returned with her 2004 partner, Viorica Susanu, in a bid to capture the gold medal once again. Although the best that they had done recently at the World Championships was third in 2007, they were considered favorites at the 2008 Summer Olympics, as no other nation had emerged as a particularly strong or consistent contender. The reigning World Champions, 2004 Olympic bronze medalists Yuliya Bichik and Nataliya Gelakh of Belarus, were sent to Beijing, as were New Zealand’s 2005 World Champions, Juliette Haigh and Nicky Coles. Germany had been the 2005 World runner-up and the 2006 bronze medalist, but was represented by Lenka Wech and Maren Derlien, who had won the European Championships when it was resurrected in 2007. Canada, the 2006 World Champion, sent Sabrina Kolker and Zoë Hoskins, the latter of whom had won a silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games.
The opening heats were won by Belarus and Romania, the latter of whom posted the fastest time, while the Canadians failed to finish after their boat capsized. They were then eliminated in the repêchage. In the final, the Romanians had little trouble claiming victory, but Belarus found itself fighting off a strong challenge from the Chinese crew, Wu You and Gao Yulan. Belarus lost this battle, allowing China to take silver by 0.63 seconds, while Bichik and Gelakh settled for bronze once again. The German and New Zealand squads were far behind, in fourth and fifth respectively.