After a typhoon interrupted days four and five of the sport's competition, rowing continued Wednesday morning in Japan with its first set of A finals at the Tokyo Games.
Australia and the Netherlands each won four medals apiece, highlighted by two golds in the coxless fours for the former and a gold for the latter in the men's quadruple sculls.
The Dutch – without coach Josy Verdonkschot, who tested positive for COVID-19 – also captured two silvers in the men's double and women's four, and a bronze in the women's double.
The Aussies' two other medals, bronzes, came in the men's and women's quadruple events.
Women's Double Sculls
Nicolete Ancuta-Bodnar and Simona Radis, the 2019 world silver medalists, earned Romania its first women's double sculls medal since the 1992 Barcelona Games, improving from silver to gold to take down an Olympic record in 6:41.03 and beat reigning world champions Brooke O'Donoghue and Olivia Loe of the Netherlands.
The duo, who was victorious at World Cup II in May, bested Britons Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger's 6:44.33 mark from the 2012 London Games.
Americans Kristi Wagner and Gevvie Stone took fifth place about 12 seconds back. The MetroWest Massachusetts natives were third behind Romania and the Netherlands at this year's World Cup II. The U.S. boat had proven itself well over the lead-up cycle: Meghan O'Leary and Ellen Tomek finished second and third at the world championships in 2017 and 2018, and Stone and Cicely Madden took fifth at the 2019 World Championships, milliseconds out of the top three.
Stone won single sculls silver at the 2016 Rio Games, claiming the first medal for the U.S. in that event since 2008, and has been balancing rowing with practicing medicine for years, currently an emergency medicine resident in Boston.
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Gold: Romania, Bodnar/Radis, 6:41.03 – OR
Silver: New Zealand, Donoghue/Osborne, 6:44.82 (+3.79)
Bronze: Netherlands, De Jong/Scheenaard, 6:45.73 (+4.70)
5th: United States, Wagner/Stone, 6:52.98 (+11.95)
Men's Double Sculls
In a photo-finish, Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias of France, the 2018 world champions, hung on to take gold in the men's double sculls with the second Olympic record of the day, clocking 6:00.33 to edge the Netherlands' Melvin Twellaar and Stef Broenink and defeat reigning world champions Liu Zhiyu and Zhang Liang of China, who claimed bronze in 6:03.63.
The French last won a medal in the event 17 years ago when Sebastien Vieilledent and Adrien Hardy captured gold at the 2004 Athens Games.
"People back home made as many sacrifices as we did along this journey," said Androdias. "I can't wait to see them and I am very proud to bring this medal back to them."
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Gold: France, Boucheron/Androdias, 6:00.33 – OR
Silver: Netherlands, Twellaar/Broenink, 6:00.53 (+0.20)
Bronze: China, Liu/Zhang, 6:03.63 (+3.30)
Women's four favorite Australia, winner of the 2017 and 2019 world titles, curbed a late surge from the Dutch to win in an Olympic-record 6:15.37, a mark it previously lowered in the heats.
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Gold: Australia, 6:15.37 – OR
Silver: Netherlands, 6:15.71 (+0.34)
Bronze: Ireland, 6:20.46 (+5.09)
Great Britain's dominant streak of five straight Olympic golds in the men's four came to an end in Tokyo, as the rookie crew finished off the podium for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games, drifting out of its lane and nearly crashing into Italy's boat at the very end.
Australia, winner of the last title before GBR's decades-long run and three previous Games silvers, claimed gold in 5:42.76 to take down its own Olympic record from the 2012 London Games.
"We’ve had a big rivalry with everyone, especially the Brits," said two-time world coxless four champion Jack Hargreaves, the Australian crew's third seat. "We haven’t been able to take that title off them for a few Games now. It was an honor to be able to achieve that today.”
The U.S. boat of Andrew Reed, Anders Weiss, Michael Grady and Clark Dean placed fifth, about six seconds back, matching its finish at the most recent world championships.
View social media post: https://twitter.com/WorldRowing/status/1420295208688705536
Gold: Australia, 5:42.76 – OR
Silver: Romania, 5:43.13 (+0.37)
Bronze: Italy, 5:43.60 (+0.84)
4th: Great Britain, 5:45.78 (+3.02)
5th: United States, 5:48.85 (+6.09)
Men's Quadruple Sculls
Reigning world champion Netherlands, competing in the Olympic men's quadruple sculls for the first time since 2000, broke the event's world record from 2014 to win gold in 5:32.03.
"This was a big monkey to get off our backs, the first men’s quad sculling medal," said Angus Groom, the silver-winning Great Britain crew's second seat. "Our target has got to be the gold medal now. British sculling is in a really good place."
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Gold: Netherlands, 5:32.03 – WR
Silver: Great Britain, 5:33.75 (+1.72)
Bronze: Australia, 5:33.97 (+1.94)
Women's Quadruple Sculls
Reigning world champion China also broke a world record from 2014 in the women's quadruple sculls, claiming gold in 6:05.13 for the nation's second-ever medal in the event.
"We weren't perfect for the whole season, but our coach said you will be perfect for today. And we believed in that," said Katarzyna Zillmann, the stroke on Poland's crew, which took silver. "After 1000m, we got our rhythm and we started to charge."
View social media post: https://twitter.com/WorldRowing/status/1420300241899638789
Gold: China, 6:05.13 – WR
Silver: Poland, 6:11.36 (+6.23)
Bronze: Australia, 6:12.08 (+6.95)
5th: Germany, 6:13.41 (+8.28)
In other races, Ireland broke the world record in A/B semifinal two of the men's lightweight double sculls, lowering South Africa's 2014 mark by .03 seconds to 6:05.33.
That event's first A/B semifinal of the day included a shocking capsize of Norway's crew, ending 2016 Olympic bronze medalists Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli's pursuit for another podium.
The women's lightweight double sculls world record also fell – twice – during A/B semis, with Great Britain then Italy breaking the Netherlands' mark set last month in 6:41.36.
Finishing behind Italy in second was the United States' crew of Molly Reckford and Michelle Sechser, who will race in the A final Thursday (9:10 p.m. ET Wednesday).
A world record was broken again in the next event round, the women's pair A/B semis, with Greece then New Zealand topping its own 2017 clocking in 6:47.41.
Romania set yet another world record in the repechage of the women's eight, besting the United States' 2013 performance by 1.17 seconds in 5:52.99.
In the men's eight repechage, the U.S. boat took third to advance to the A final, the very last event of the Tokyo Olympic regatta.
Rowing's penultimate Day 7, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, features four A finals in the men's and women's pair and lightweight double sculls.