In the first rowing final of the 2012 London Games, Princeton’s Sara Hendershot and her US women’s pair teammate Sarah Zelenka faced boats from Romania, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany as they searched for a place on the medal stand at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre.
Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning shot out to a fast start, built a boat length’s lead by the 500 mark and never looked back as they claimed the host Nation’s first gold of the 2012 London Games in a time of 7:27.13. Australia placed second in 7:29.86 to take the silver. Closing fast, Hendershot and Zelenka came within fractions of a second of the medal stand, but in the end New Zealand (7:30.19) held off the Americans (7:30.39) for the bronze. In an impressive sprint for the finish, Hendershot and Zelenka had been in sixth position heading into the final stretch and came within two-tenths of a second from moving all the way up to third.
Coming into the A Final, the American tandem had qualified directly with a heats time of 6:59.29, which had been bested in the two heats by only the Great Britain boat of Glover and Stanning (6:57.29). In the repechage (under different conditions as it was run two days after the heats), no pair broke 7:08.42.
The last Ivy League women to win a medal in pair rowing was Sarah Garner (Penn ’94), who won a bronze for the USA in 2000 at the Sydney Games.
NBC will broadcast the taped delay of the rowing finals today from 4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Complete results are here.