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2ND LEAD Germans race to two rowing golds in Rio despite late team changes By Albert Otti and Max Haupt, dpa

Europe
Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Germans struck double gold at the Olympic rowing finals Thursday, proving that they are not only fast on the oars but also fast team-builders.

The mens‘ quadruple sculls race was the day‘s first final, and the Germans used the opportunity to make their first splash by repeating their 2012 victory.

Hans Gruhne, Philipp Wende, Lauritz Schoof and Karl Schulze took the lead early and dominated the full length of the 2-kilometre regatta.

Australia picked up speed on the final 250 metres and nearly caught up but had to settle for silver, 1.15 seconds behind Germany‘s 6 minutes 6.81 seconds.

Lithuania won bronze with a delay of 3.84 seconds.

Schoof and Schulze celebrated by standing in their wobbly boat, but they were so exhausted that they soon had to throw up.

"I‘m so happy that I could cry. Twice Olympic gold medal is amazing," Schoof said.

Germany had planned to send the same team to Rio that had already won 2012 in London.

But after the team failed to impress in the European championships in May, Tim Grohmann was replaced with Gruhne only weeks before the Olympics.

The German women‘s boat was also reshuffled only weeks ago.

Only minutes after the men, the women set off, and Poland looked like the winner in the women‘s quadruple sculls regatta.

But the German world record holders fired up on the final metres to clinch gold in 6:49.39 minutes.

The Netherlands also overtook Poland for silver, relegating the Eastern Europeans to bronze.

"We knew that we can be strong at the end, and we stayed cool," said Julia Lier, who had rejoined the team only in May.

Lier, Annekatrin Thiele, Carina Baer and Lisa Schmidla had set the world record of 6:06.84 in 2014.

In the women‘s double sculls, 40-year-old Katherine Grainger became the most successful British female Olympians when she won silver with her team-mate Vicky Thornley.

Grainger now has one gold and four silver medals under her belt.

The British women led the regatta through to the 1,500m mark, but Poland‘s Magdalena Fularczyk-Kozlowska and Natalia Madaj were stronger in the finish and won Poland‘s first gold in women‘s rowing.

Bronze went to Lithuania.

Although Grainger was not able to repeat her 2012 victory, she said she was "Really proud."

"For many, many days nobody thought we‘d come back with anything," she said. "It feels pretty nice to walk away from this one with another shiny medal in my pocket."

In the men‘s double sculls, four-time world champion brothers Valent and Martin Sinkovic from Croatia took gold, ahead of the Lithuanian and Norwegian teams.

In the men‘s pair race, in which each rower has one oar rather than the sculls‘ two, New Zealand‘s Eric Murray and Bond Hamish repeated their 2012 victory, comfortably ahead of South Africa and Italy.

In the lightweight men‘s four class, Switzerland‘s Lucas Tramer, Simon Schuerch, Simon Niepmann and Mario Gyr rowed to gold to the sound of their fans‘ Swiss cowbells, with Denmark on silver and France on bronze.

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