US Rowers Win 3rd Straight Olympic Gold in Women’s Eight; Gevvie Stone Wins Silver in Single Sculls

The U.S. has won at least two rowing medals in each Olympics since the 1980 Moscow Games, which the U.S. boycotted.

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The U.S. boat was in third place halfway through the race when coxswain Katelin Snyder shouted the magic words: "This is the U.S. women's eight!" 

Yes, it was. 

The crew responded and did what it always does: It won. 

The U.S. women's eight is a seemingly invincible boat, with 11 consecutive world and Olympic titles since 2006. 

Only two crew members remained from the boat that won gold in the London Olympics, and only one from Beijing four years earlier. 

It didn't matter. 

Canada led the race after the first 1,000 meters of the 2,000 meter race, with the U.S. in third. But when Snyder unleashed her rallying cry, everyone knew what had to happen. 

"She yelled, 'this is the U.S. women's eight!' And we rallied," said Kerry Simmonds, who rowed in seat No. 2. 

Snyder, always playing down her role as the coxswain — the only person in the boat without oars — said she told the crew to "trust your fitness, and trust the plan and trust your teammates." 

She probably did. But what about that the part of being the U.S. women's eight — a dynasty that stands out in team sports? 

"I did say that," she said, bashfully. "I think it was in the third 500 (meters). And everyone was going together. I was going with them and they were going with me." 

The U.S. crew won the race in 6 minutes, 1.49 seconds. As Canada faded after its aggressive start, Britain took the silver and Romania the bronze. 

It was the first U.S. gold medal in the rowing regatta and second overall in Rio.

Rower Kerry Simmonds, who grew up in the Carmel Valley, California and played sports for Torrey Pines High School near La Jolla was among the crew of eight.

Along with Snyder and Simmonds the crew includes Amanda Elmore, Tessa Gobbo, Meghan Musnicki, Amanda Polk, Emily Regan, Lauren Schmetterling and Elle Logan.

Earlier Saturday, Kim Brennan of Australia won the gold medal in the women's single sculls, with American Gevvie Stone picking up the silver. Duan Jingli of China finished third. 

Brennan got a dismal start to the Olympics ending up in third place in her first heat in choppy waters behind rowers from Mexico and Zimbabwe. But she picked up the pace as the weather calmed down. 

In the final Brennan built up a monster lead right from the start and held on though Stone came closer in the final 100 meters.

Historically a powerhouse in the sport, the U.S. has won at least two rowing medals in each Olympics since the 1980 Moscow Games, which the U.S. boycotted.

The U.S. was also represented in the men's eight on Saturday, but came in fourth place behind Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. 

In the men's single sculls, Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale bested Croatian Damir Martin for the gold medal in a dramatic photo finish. 

Drysdale and Damir both crossed the line in 6 minutes, 41.34 seconds. But officials called the race for Drysdale after studying a photo of the end of the race.

World champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic won the bronze.

Damir was quickest out of the blocks but Drysdale caught up and was ahead at 1,500 meters. But Damir came back in the final stretch and the boats were side by side at the finish line. 

Britain's Alan Campbell withdrew from the finals for medical reasons. Campbell won bronze in the event at the London Olympics. In Rio, he just missed out on the "A'' final after finishing fourth in his semifinal heat.

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