posted on Aug, 21 2004 @ 04:33 AM
Britain's Matthew Pinsent claimed an historic fourth Olympic gold medal when his crew pipped world champions Canada in the men's coxless four on
Saturday. Pinsent and Sydney champion James Cracknell, Ed Coode and Steve Williams won by the narrowest of margins in a time of six minutes 6.98
Matthew Pinsent joined the Olympic immortals on Saturday morning when he led the coxless four to gold for Britain after the tightest of photo finishes
on an unforgettable morning at the Schinias rowing centre. The man from Eton, who had garnered three Olympic golds while racing in the shadow of Sir
Steven Redgrave, made it four in a row to go within one of the record of his big pal and Britain's greatest Olympian.
For James Cracknell it was his second gold to go with the one he
won in Sydney, while for Ed Coode and Steve Williams it was their first taste of Olympic triumph. What a fantastic ending to a story which had been
bedevilled by disruption, injury and political in-fighting for the best part of 18 months. And what an endorsement of the talents of German coach
Jurgen Grobler who ruthlessly axed Tony Garbett and Rick Dunn from the boat to incorporate Pinsent and Cracknell from their ill-fated initial
challenge in the pairs. In the end it was a crew which had been together just six weeks and had rowed just one regatta before coming to Athens. But
with Pinsent's inspiration and good old-fashioned British grit and determination the four saw off the challenge of the technically superior Canadians
in a race rippling with tension.
Redgrave, who was Pinsent's long-time partner in the boat before his retirement after winning gold at the last Games in Sydney, paid tribute to the
four-time gold medallist. Redgrave said he felt Pinsent could go on to be a greater Olympian than even himself with five gold medals by competing all
the way through to 2012.