LONDON: South Africa stunned favourites Great Britain and Denmark to claim their first ever Olympic rowing gold medal in the lightweight men’s four in front of a 25,000 crowd. All eyes were on the host nation to follow up Wednesday’s gold in the women’s pairs, and Denmark, champions at the Beijing Games four years ago. But the South Africa four – James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu – gate-crashed their party in gripping fashion. Seemingly out of contention in the first 1500m they exploded in the closing quarter to overhaul the Danes and then Britain to rewrite their country’s and the Games’ rowing history. World champions Australia came in fourth. In other finals action, the all-conquering US team, unbeaten in the past four years, added women’s eight gold to their Beijing and world championship titles.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.