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Britain wins gold in women's pair

8/1/2012 - Olympic Sports

WINDSOR, England -- Britain captured its first gold medal of the London Olympics on Wednesday when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the final of the women's pair at the rowing regatta.

Under intense pressure, the favorites established a big lead early in the race and were never threatened. They crossed the line in 7 minutes, 27.13 seconds.

With Princes William and Harry watching, Stanning leaned back into the lap of Glover and punched the air after they sealed the win. They cupped their mouths in disbelief.

Australia finished fast, closing within a length of Britain to snatch the silver medal from world champion New Zealand, which just clipped the United States for the bronze.

It's the first Olympic gold won by a British women's boat and should usher in an unprecedented medal rush for the host nation at Dorney Lake across four days of finals.

Glover, a former gym teacher, and Stanning, a captain in the British army, are unbeaten this year and set an Olympic-best time in the heats.

They were 3.42 seconds ahead after 1,000 meters, and more than five seconds ahead of New Zealand at the 1,500-meter mark. As they raced along packed grandstands in the final 300 meters, they visibly tired but were too far ahead to be caught.

Britain waited until the fifth day of the Olympics to celebrate its first gold medalists. Gold-medal hopes Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Armitstead in cycling and the diving pair of Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield failed to top the podium.

Germany claims men's eight gold

Germany produced a late burst to win the Olympic rowing gold in the men's eight at Dorney Lake on Wednesday, justifying its pre-race billing as heavy favorite.

Unbeaten since 2009, the powerful German crew crossed the line in 5 minutes, 48.75 seconds to win gold for the first time since the country was reunified in 1990.

Canada captured silver, falling short in its bid to defend its gold medal at the Beijing Olympics four years ago. Britain was level with Germany for much of the race but settled for bronze.

Ukraine wins women's quadruple sculls gold

Ukraine won its first Olympic rowing gold medal in women's quadruple sculls Wednesday at Dorney Lake.

The Ukrainian team of Kateryna Tarasenko, Nataliya Dovgodko, Anastasia Kozhenkova and Yana Dementieva beat Germany by a length, winning in 6 minutes, 35.93 seconds. The Germans took silver ahead of the United States, which earned bronze.

It is Ukraine's second gold of the London Games, taking the country's overall medal haul to four.

Germany failed to win Olympic gold in the event for only the second time since the discipline was added to the Olympic rowing schedule in 1988.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.