Canada earns redemption, China their first gold

Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:00am EDT
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By Kate Holton

BEIJING (Reuters) - Canada earned redemption and China their first Olympic rowing gold medal on the shimmering waters of Lake Shunyi on Sunday.

In a repeat of four years ago, the Canadian men's eight entered the Olympic regatta as world champions and favorites for the blue-riband title.

In Athens they crumbled and finished fifth. In Beijing they held on for gold in a thrilling finale to the Olympic regatta.

"Although it looked like we were ahead and in control, we were in constant fear the entire race," said Adam Kreek. "We were just pushing back that fear and turning that into a positive mentality. That was the secret.

"With five strokes to go, our cox Brian said 'five more strokes and we are Olympic champions' and then the joy started flowing through the veins.

"Athens was never in the picture. It was all about seizing the moment. Today is an absolutely incredible day."

China also had plenty to celebrate at last.

The hosts, who had previously only won two silvers and two bronze Olympic rowing medals, entered as strong favorites in several events after heavy investment in the sport and a couple of successful years. But by the end of Saturday's racing they had only managed one silver.   Continued...

<p>(L-R) Kevin Light, Ben Rutledge, Andrew Byrnes, Jake Wetzel, Malcolm Howard, Dominic Seiterle, Adam Kreek, Kyle Hamilton and coxswain Brian Price of Canada celebrate after winning the men's eight rowing competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne</p>