Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, Mapo, Shunyi
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 16, 2008
Twin sisters Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell of New Zealand were the reigning Olympic champions in the women’s double sculls and, since then, had won every type of medal at the World Championships: gold in 2005, bronze in 2006, and silver in 2007. They were the favorites for the event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, with their strongest competition likely being Li Qin and Tian Liang of China, the reigning World Champions. These two nations won their opening heats with ease, but the medal round would prove much more exciting. In the final quarter of the course, New Zealand and Germany struggled to keep ahead of one another, with Great Britain constantly pressing them from behind. Germany, the 2004 Olympic and 2006 World runners-up were represented by Annekatrin Thiele and Christiane Huth, while Great Britain sent their 2007 World bronze medalists Anna Bebington and Elise Laverick, the latter of whom was also a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist. New Zealand and Germany seemed to cross the line at exactly the same time and a photo finish was needed to determine that the 2004 Olympic champions had defended their crown successfully by the slimmest margin possible, 0.01 seconds, leaving the Germans with silver. With Great Britain taking bronze only 0.22 seconds later, it was one of the closest finals in Olympic rowing history, although in the end the podium remained unchanged from 2004. China finished in fourth over eight seconds later.