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Friday, August 3, 2012
Mahe Drysdale wins single sculls

Associated Press

WINDSOR, England -- Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand won the gold medal in men's single sculls at the Olympic rowing regatta Friday, completing the resume of one of the sport's leading names.

The five-time world champion held off rival Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic to win in 6 minutes, 57.82 seconds. Synek was a half-length behind for silver, and Alan Campbell surged late to take bronze, Britain's sixth medal of the regatta.

Drysdale went into the Beijing Games in 2008 as a huge favorite but fell ill days before the final and struggled to a bronze. He had to be helped onto the podium that day after vomiting behind the scenes.

But he made amends four years later, demonstrating his strength to battle a headwind and keep Synek at bay.

They were even at halfway, but Drysdale had pushed a length clear by 1,500 meters and held on grimly against the current, punching his right arm out after crossing the line.

With the men's pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray also winning their final on Friday, New Zealand tops the rowing medals table with three golds with four final races left. Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen won the men's double sculls Thursday.

Drysdale appeared in danger of missing the London Games when he crashed his bike into a car before a World Cup regatta in Munich in June. He sustained minor joint injuries, grazes and bruises.

It was Synek's second straight Olympic silver. The gold medalist from Beijing, Olaf Tufte of Norway, failed to reach the final.

Lassi Karonen of Sweden was overtaken in the final 150 meters by Campbell, whose bronze added to the two thirds he has won at the last two world championships.