Tokyo 2020 Olympics Briefing: Australia’s Rowing Teams Bring In A Huge Medal Haul - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Briefing: Australia’s Rowing Teams Bring In A Huge Medal Haul

It was a big day for the Aussies at the Sea Forest Waterway, walking away with gold in back-to-back finals in the male and female coxless fours.

They were a long time coming, but in n way has Tokyo 2020 failed to live up to the hype of an Olympic Games. Perhaps now more than ever, as many of us find ourselves in an extended lockdown, the Games provide a welcome distraction from the minutiae of everyday life. With a simple flick of the channel, we can find ourselves absorbed in the sport of canoe slalom or gymnastics, surfing and skateboarding, watching the world’s top athletes give nothing but their all as they look to be victorious and stand atop that medal podium.

The Games may have only just started, but already Australia’s athletes are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. Our top athletes have taken to their events with steely-eyed focus and determination, and while not everyone walks away with a gold medal, the way they have conducted themselves is reason alone for celebration. It’s there in our Aussie athletes that we see just what it means to be compassionate, kind and loyal sportspeople. Of course, there are still the upsets that make sport the engaging theatre of triumph and loss that it is. With that in mind, here’s a round-up of the key Olympic moments over the last 24 hours at Tokyo 2020. 

Kyle Chalmers

It’s the event everyone will be watching, the men’s 100m freestyle final. Australia’s Kyle Chalmers clocked 47.80 in the semi-finals to advance to the final, where he’ll come up against 21-year-old Russian Kliment Kolesnikov who clocked the fastest qualifier. Of course, his main competition continues to be US favourite Caeleb Dressel, who clocked a time of 47.23. Chalmers will be defending the title after he won the event at Rio in 2016. 

Men’s Rowing Four and Quad Sculls

More than two decades since the “Oarsome Foursome” reigned supreme, Australia is proving they are back as the dominating force in rowing. In an incredible morning of action, Australia’s male and female rowers won dual gold in back-to-back finals. The men’s and women’s quad sculls added bronze medals soon after to complete a stunning haul at Sea Forest Waterway. The men’s crew included Jack Hargreaves, Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin and Alex Hill. After claiming gold, Hargreaves said, “We obviously wanted to win it back for Australia, it’s been a long time, it’s been, what, 25 years since the ‘Oarsome Foursome’, and a lot of crews have come close.” 

Previously it was Great Britain that dominated the men’s four for the past 21 years – winning gold at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. Now, Australia is finally taking the top step of the podium. Hill, who finished second to the British five years ago, spoke of the triumph, “We’re just super grateful to be sitting in that boat. Those legends before us have achieved what they have, so it was just amazing to put it back where it belongs.”

Their win was soon followed by a bronze medal in the quad scull finals. The Aussie crew of Caleb Antill, Jack Cleary, Cameron Girdlestone, and Luke Letcher fought hard but couldn’t keep pace with race leaders in the first 1,000m. They managed to surge late to win bronze, behind Team GB in second and Netherlands who nabbed gold. Letcher said of the result, “We hope that some of these results and some of the exciting racing that’s been happening out on the course and in all the other events, has given people a little bit of excitement in a bit of a bleak time back home.”

Australia’s 4x200m freestyle relay gets bronze 

Perhaps ushering in a new age of swimming glory, team Great Britain stormed to victory in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, an event that has previously been dominated by the United States. Clearly still looking to fill the void left by Michael Phelps’ retirement, the US didn’t even nab a podium finish. Russian Olympic Committee team came in second, with Australia’s relay team picking up bronze.

Andy Murray might not get an Olympic chance again

After withdrawing from the men’s tennis singles competition due to physical ailments, Andy Murray was still hopeful he could secure a medal alongside doubles partner Joe Salisbury. It was heartbreaking then, to see such hopes dashed when the pair lost in the quarter-finals to Croatians Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig. 34-year-old Murray, who has dealt with multiple injuries in recent years, said to press, “I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to play again. I love every minute of playing the Olympics. It is just hard. I hate losing.”

Rohan Dennis gets third

At Fuji International Speedway, the men’s cycling time trial sessions brought a medal to Australia’s Rohan Dennis, who placed third. Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic blew the field away though, beating silver medallist Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands by a staggering one minute and one second. 

Rugby Sevens

In emotional scenes, the world watched as Fiji retained their men’s rugby sevens title with a 27-12 victory over New Zealand. In the competition, Argentina took out the bronze after beating Great Britain 17-12, which sparked wild scenes of celebration at the final whistle. 

Today, the BMX racing cycling gets underway, along with the golfing competition. There are also medals available in the canoe slalom, fencing, judo, rowing, shooting, swimming and table tennis. It’s a slightly quieter program ahead of the start of athletics on Friday. Still, it’s a big day for swimming with medals to be had in the men’s 800m freestyle, men’s 200m break stroke, men’s 100m freestyle, women’s 200m butterfly and 4x200m freestyle relay final. 

For more of our Olympic coverage, check out the stories below. 

6 Of The Most Memorable Moments In Olympic History

Olympic Round-up: Kookaburras Get Dream Start With Win Over World No.4

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Briefing: Novak Djokovic Keeps Golden Grand Slam Dream Alive

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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