Britain's Grainger denied as Poland win double sculls gold

Laura Christensen
August 12, 2016

Katherine Grainger is the most decorated female British Olympian ever, having defied the odds with Vicky Thornley to win a double sculls silver she ranks as a greater achievement than topping the London 2012 podium.

Maidenhead's Katherine Grainger wrote a fittingly glorious final chapter to her Olympics story after partnering Vicky Thornley to a silver medal in the women's double sculls final in Rio this afternoon.

Grainger had considered walking away from the sport before performing a U-turn and the pair only reached Rio when spots became available after failing to make the initial cut.

After finishing as runner up in 2000, 2004 and 2008, the Scot was victorious with Anna Watkins in the double sculls with Anna Watkins.

"Grainger and Thornley were only added to the GB rowing team in late June after failing to be selected for the women's eight".

Under hot Rio temperatures, amid the beauty of the surrounding Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the pair had led for 1800m but were overtaken by the strong Polish crew of Magdalena Fularczyk-Koz?owska and Natalia Madaj over the final 200m.

Britain will be represented in the rowing, judo and archery from 1pm on Tuesday.

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Grainger only made a decision to return to the sport two years ago and they abandoned the double sculls project midway through the season, only to reform having failed to qualify for seats in the eight.

With her many rowing and academic accolades, it is an understatement to call Grainger a high achiever. We had to find something really big at the end there to hold onto the medal and I'm so please we did.

They did not need to be asked twice and produced the smoothest race of their season to come second behind Poland in their semi-final, with the fourth fastest time overall.

"She was interviewed after the race and she said a few months ago she would've just died at the thought of getting any medals, so to get a silver and so close to gold is pretty exceptional". "At the start we would have taken it with both hands but there is a tinge of what could have been".

"But once you race a lot internationally, you know that's coming and you want it to be there".

"I can't wait to hear our parents voices because they have sacrificed everything for us to achieve this", he said.

The duo finished second in six minutes 52.47 seconds at the semi-final stage, which reigning world champions New Zealand exited at along with Australia's world-record holder Sally Kehoe.

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