Broken Hearted: Great Britain Rowers Held to Second in Men’s Rowing Lightweight Double Sculls
Great Britain had been tallying Rowing titles at Eton Dorney’s Rowing Lake earlier in the day on Saturday.
But for Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, it was nothing more than an afternoon of broken hearts. And a broken chair.
The Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls British duo was edged by Denmark to send them into a second-place finish on their home turf.
“We feel like we’ve let everyone down by not winning,” said a devastated Hunter.
In top form, the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls British duo came out of the gates on fire, looking to claim a victory of their own for their country. But it was for not, as Purchase slid backwards as his chair ripped off the metal slides due to a loose wheel and a twisted clip.
Raising a hand to flag officials down, the race was eventually restarted after repairs came.
With a slightly less-than-ideal start the second time around, the pair eventually took the lead. After a minute and a half – a half-length cushion separated the Brits and the Danes – pushing on through another thousand meters.
Smashing toward the crowds in the grandstands, the duo looked as if they were solidly holding the front. Then Denmark came charging.
The Danes clawed their way closer and closer to the Brits – but although the host country rowers retained the lead with 100 meters remaining, Denmark powered their way to a one-inch lead with 50 meters left.
Team GB never regained the lead.
“The emotional side is always difficult,” Purchase said. “When you put everything in and you lose, there is no hiding place. We’ll spend days, weeks, months, the rest of our lives, trying to work out if we could have done more.”
And although a second place podium finish is plenty for Great Britain to be proud of overall, there’s no doubt that the result was a gut-wrenching development for the two rowers.
“Even though it’s a second place, it still hurts when you come for the victory,” Hunter said.
Purchase summed up all the duo’s immensely mixed emotions to close out comments on the event.
“I just wish we could have been a little bit quicker.”