Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 1, 2012
In 2008 China and Great Britain had been the teams to beat in the women’s quadruple sculls and, indeed, had won gold and silver respectively at that year’s Summer Olympics. In the intervening years, however, China’s strength had waned while Great Britain remained a force, one that would certainly be amplified by competing in a home Olympics. It was the Ukrainian team, however, that had garnered the most attention during the last season. Although the squad had been successful in past years, it was also uneven, but an intense training regimen for both endurance and strength boosted the team’s performance and left them with a string of victories on the international scene going into the event, including all three of the year’s World Cup regattas. Germany was also an ever-present threat; aside from being the reigning World Champions, they had won gold in the event every year since its debut at the Olympics in 1988, save for 2008.
Unsurprisingly it was Germany and Ukraine that captured their respective heats, leaving the other nations to battle for a spot in the finals in the repechage. Perhaps more surprising was that China and Britain finished at the bottom of the pack and narrowly avoided elimination in a repechage won by Australia. China, which finished fourth, might have been eliminated had the New Zealand squad, bronze medalists at the most recent World Championships, not broken a blade with less than 500m to go in the race. The final was dominated by the Ukrainians, who remained an entire length ahead of the pack for almost the entire course and easily captured the gold medal, the nation’s first ever victory in Olympic rowing. Germany clinched silver in a tight drive for second place and the United States, who had taken silver in the 2011 World Championships, settled for bronze.