by sportswriter Feng Jian¡¡
BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Rowing competition at Beijing Olympics closed its last chapter in Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on Sunday, with China snatching its first ever Olympic gold medal in the sport.
The seven gold medals on offer on Sunday were taken by the Netherlands, Britain, Denmark, China, Poland, the United States and Canada.
The first final event opened at about 15:30 under a cloudy sky. The Dutch rowers van de Kolk Kristen and van Eupen Marit were crowned in the lightweight women's double sculls and followed by Britons taking the gold in the event for men.
Kolk and Eupen were in second place by the 1,500 meters, but a later surge helped them win with half a boat length.
Danish rowers took the lead in the lightweight men's four all the way to the finish line. It finished the first 1,000 meters race with a result of 2:52.43, securing a one length lead.
Denmark won two Olympic gold medals in the event in 1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens respectively, the only country in the world which has claimed two Olypmic gold medals in the event.
The event on the day's agenda that is worth of a special mention is the women's quadruple sculls. Four Chinese rowers stroked hard and surpassed the leader in the race before making the final sprint. The gold medal, first ever for China in Olympic history, means so much for Chinese and its rowing teams.
"Our coach told us before the final that we should relieve our pressure and show our normal capability. We rowed in unison and would never give up," Tang Bin said after the race.
On her feelings after winning the gold medal, Tang said that it was just like a dream.
"Yesterday we did feel a bit pressured but our coach didn't talk to us about it. So we decided to turn pressure into motivation and show the world what we trained to do," Chinese women rower Jin Ziwei said at a press conference after the contest.
In the second part of the contests, Poland snatched the gold in men's quadruple sculls. The United States and Canada won in the women's eight and men's eight respectively.
The United States took revenge on arch rival Romania on Sunday to win its first Olympic gold medal in the women's rowing eight since 1984. The Canadian crew in men's eight showed the world in the entire race what power and speed really were.
Their small lead in the beginning grew into a large and invincible advantage in the last strokes of the race. Their win in Sunday's race made Canada into the first team since 1980 to win the Olympic gold as the reigning world champions.
"We wanted to prove that we are a great crew - and today we did that," Canadian rower Ben Rutledge said so happily soon after the duel for the gold.