Olympic Games: ROWING - OAR INSPIRING!; Angry Brits Turned a Grudge into Gold

By Hare, Joe | The Mirror (London, England), September 25, 2000 | Go to article overview

Olympic Games: ROWING - OAR INSPIRING!; Angry Brits Turned a Grudge into Gold


Hare, Joe, The Mirror (London, England)


BRITAIN grabbed their second rowing gold medal by turning the race into a grudge match against the favourites Australia.

The British men's eights crew were so incensed at losing to the hosts in last week's heats that they went into the final determined to demolish their rivals with the strength of their start.

The plan worked to perfection and the eight pulled off a victory which was arguably even more impressive than Steve Redgrave's coxless fours the day before.

"I have never been angrier in my life than when we lost to Australia in the heat," said Simon Dennis.

"So at the start of the final we were all growling and shouting at each other because we wanted to be more aggressive than all of the other crews.

"I'm told the Australians looked devastated after getting the silver. Good.

"We get on well with all the crews, but we needed to be tough or else it would have been us with silver."

Kieran West, the engine room of the boat, said the rest of British sport can draw inspiration from example. "We're not superstars - we're not even the most talented individually," said West. "We just prepared in the right way and made sacrifices.

"This shows that anyone can win a gold medal. It is a showcase for rowing and I don't see why other sports cannot do the same thing."

The British crew also paid an emotional tribute to coach Harry Mahon, the 58-year-old New Zealander who ignored an ongoing battle with cancer to mastermind their victory - Britain's first in the men's eight since 1912.

Andrew Lindsay said: "Harry is a brilliant coach and an incredible person. He was told about two years ago that he had hardly any time to live but he just carries on.

"He is the one who gave us the aggression and focus. He shows you how to manage your life without worrying about the little things. …

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