A short distance into today’s race it became apparent that the race was only between two countries: Drysdale for New Zealand and Czech Republic sculler Ondrej Synek. The two champions and traditional rivals powered far ahead of other boats but towards the end it was Kiwi sculler Drysdale who left Synek in his wake.
Minutes before Drysdale’s win, Kiwis Hamish Bond and Eric Murray took home gold for men’s pair.
This is the first time New Zealand won two gold medals in rowing at one Olympics, made more spectacular by the fact that these were within minutes of each other.
Drysdale’s win takes New Zealand to the top of the London 2012 rowing-only medal table. Kiwis are now the proud owners of three golds and a bronze, topping Britain’s two golds, one silver and three bronzes. Germany, with two golds and a silver, are third.
This is a victory Drysdale has been chasing for years. The Auklander suffered disaster in the Beijing Olympics four years ago when he collapsed in his boat and was rushed to hospital.
Before the race, gold medal winner Drysdale was able to laugh about the incident.
“Four years ago I was throwing up and on my way to the Olympic Village hospital. The preparation’s been a lot better this time,” he said.
However he stopped short of saying that today’s Olympic final was only about repairing the damage of Beijing.
“That [Beijing] is not really a motivation. I do it for other reasons and want to be the best I can be,” he said yesterday after winning the London 2012 semifinal.
“It’s not necessarily redemption. You learn from what happens to you. Beijing taught me a lot of lessons and you only get a couple of opportunities at this in your life so you’ve got to make the most of them.”