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The Oylmpics 2004: YOU'RE OARSOME; TRUE BRITS STRIKE GOLDTRIKE GOLD # Pinsent: Scots duo inspired my victory # Triumph as Team GB scoop 7 medals.


FOUR time gold winner Matthew Pinsent rowed into the Olympic history books yesterday after being inspired by Scots medallists Katherine Grainger and Chris Hoy.

The 33-year-old claimed he and his fellow oarsmen - James Cracknell, Steve Williams and Ed Coode - were spurred to victory by Katherine and Cath Bishop's silver medal triumph in the women's coxless pairs.

He said: 'I can't really get any perspective on it. We were inspired.'

Pinsent's triumph is one of the most dramatic victories in Olympic history, achieved on a day when Britain picked up seven medals.

The British coxless fours held off their Canadian rivals by just eight hundredths of a second - a victory so tight it had to be confirmed by a photo.

It was Matthew's fourth gold medal in a row following a hat-trick at Sydney 2000, Atlanta 1996 and Barcelona 1992.

The win was watched by around eight million British TV viewers.

At the medal ceremony, the four oarsmen held their hands aloft and waved to ecstatic British fans in the crowd.

Pinsent hugged his Greek wife Dee, 33, then took to the podium, where he began to cry uncontrollably as the National Anthem played and the Union Jack was hoisted.

The team's victory - which saw James Cracknell win his second Olympic gold - means Pinsent is now just one gold medal away from matching his former team-mate and Britain's greatest Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave.

Sir Steve, who retired after the Sydney Games, said: 'Four times an Olympic gold medallist - what can you say about the guy, he is absolutely unbelievable and head and shoulders above anyone else in the world.

'It's just hit me, I'm no longer reigning Olympic champion.'

Sir Steve also claimed Pinsent could go on and break his own record gold medal haul.

He added: 'I've been pretty convinced he would carry on after this one and go to another Olympic Games.'

Pinsent will get the chance to net his fifth straight gold in Beijing in 2008.

In yesterday's incredibly tense race at Athens' Schinias Rowing Centre, the British team led from the start and forged a few feet ahead of main threat Canada.

But by the halfway stage, the Canadians had clawed their way back and just edged ahead of them.

As the crews came within a few hundred metres of the finish line, Pinsent and his crew fought their way back to neck-and-neck with the leaders.

The boats crossed the line at virtually the same time but a photo-finish revealed Pinsent had won.

Relief and joy swept over the 6ft 5in oarsman as he broke down in tears and sat exhausted in his boat.

It capped a brilliant day for Britain. Scot Katherine Grainger got things off to a flying start after she and rowing partner Cath Bishop captured silver in the women's coxless pairs.

Glasgow-born Grainger, 28, who now lives in Aberdeen, began rowing at university in Edinburgh. She said she was disappointed to have missed out on the gold to defending champs Romania.

Katherine added: 'It's bitter-sweet not to have won it. But I think we've proved our point that we are up there with the top in the world.'

There was also success on dry land for British cyclist Bradley Wiggins, who won the men's 4km individual pursuit.

British sailor Ben Ainslie also won gold and his victory marked a remarkable fightback in the Finn Class competition.

The 27-year-old battled back from 19th place to win the event and earn his second sailing gold medal in a row.

Ainslie said: 'I'm over the moon, I can't believe it.' Elsewhere, Sarah Winckless and Elise Laverick took a bronze in the women's double sculls final.

Sailors Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield also won a silver medal in the men's 470 class.

Leslie Law also won gold. He is the first Brit to triumph in three-day eventing since 1972, after a successful appeal demoted a German rider.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the combined appeal of the British, French and American teams.

The day got even better when swimmer David Davies won a bronze in the 1500m freestyle.


T eam GB's day of glory #7.19am - Katherine Grainger and Cath Bishop win silver in the women's coxless pairs.

#7.57am - Sarah Winckless and Elise Laverick take bronze in the women's double skulls final.

#8.37am - Matthew Pinsent wins his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the men's coxless fours after a nailbiting photo finish with Canada.

#3pm - There is further success on the water for Great Britain when sailors Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield win a silver medal in the men's 470 class.

#4.12pm - British cyclist Bradley Wiggins takes gold in the men's 4km individual pursuit.

#4.45pm - Leslie Law is upgraded to a gold medal after a disputed judge's decision went in Britain's favour.


Joy: Brit rowers Katherine Grainger and Cath Bishop with silver medals; Wheeling great: Chris kisses gold; Overcome: Matthew Pinsent, left, breaks down in tears as gold-winning team-mates Ed Coode, James Cracknell and Steve Williams sing National Anthem; Composed: Matthew recovers to show off gold medal and, left, he hugs thrilled wife Dee
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 22, 2004
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