The Canadian women’s eight rowing team captured its first gold medal in nearly 20 years at the Tokyo Olympics Friday.
Canada dominated right out of the gate, with silver medalists New Zealand unable to catch them and lagging more than a second behind throughout the race. China managed to edge out Australia for the bronze.
“My team-mates and I worked for a really long time towards a very clear goal and we achieved it,” said Team Canada rower Christine Roper. “And right now we just get to celebrate it and be really proud of ourselves and really embrace this once in a lifetime moment.”
The women — Lisa Roman, Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Christine Roper, Andrea Proske, Susanne Grainger, Madison Mailey, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys and Kristen Kit — had to work a little harder than most to get to the final.
Despite finishing second in their heat, the team had to repechage on Wednesday to qualify for the medal race, ultimately finishing second there as well.
“We train really hard,” said Madison Mailey. “We always use the term ‘rob the bank,’ like we had put lots of money in the bank and today we robbed the bank and it paid off.
Canada’s last medal in the women’s eight rowing event was a silver at the 2012 Games in London. They last won the gold in Barcelona in 1992.
It marks the second rowing medal for Team Canada in Tokyo, after nabbing a bronze in the women’s pair event on Thursday.
It also continued the streak by Canada’s women athletes, who have won every medal in these Summer Games so far.
Canada has now won three gold medals, including in the women’s 64-kilogram weightlifting class and the women’s 100-metre butterfly swim.