Rio Olympics 2016: Katherine Grainger and Victoria Thornley win double sculls silver

Katherine Grainger became Britain's most decorated female Olympian by taking silver alongside Victoria Thornley in the double sculls.

The pair led for much of the race but were beaten to the gold medal by Poland's Magdalena Fularczyk-Kozlowska and Natalia Madaj, who won by 0.95 seconds, with Lithuania in third.

Grainger, 40, won gold in London after silvers in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.

The Scot and Welsh rower Thornley, 28, were not in the initial GB squad.

Their partnership was dissolved after they failed to make the podium at this year's European Championships.

They both tested for the women's eight but fell short of their team-mates' times and were made to wait before being confirmed in the squad for the double.

"I don't think anything could eclipse London because of everything that surrounded it," she said.

"But I remember at the start of this campaign feeling that if I could come out with anything, a medal of any kind, it would probably be my greatest achievement," said Grainger.

Thornley added: "I have been dreaming of winning an Olympic medal since I started rowing and so many times I was not sure it would ever happen.

"I had to find the right race with the right person and today was that race."

After winning gold in London with Anna Watkins, Grainger opted to have a two-year sabbatical before returning in September 2014.

She and Thornley led by 0.64 seconds at the halfway mark of Thursday's final but the Poles powered through to win in seven minutes and 40.10 seconds.

Grainger's silver takes her past swimmer Rebecca Adlington's four Olympic medals, and level with tennis player Kitty Godfrey (nee McKane).

Godfrey, a seven-time major champion, won five Olympic medals in the 1920s, one gold, two silver and two bronze.

Social media reaction

Four-time Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent: "Brilliant brilliant brilliant. One of the most amazing @TeamGB stories this year. Thornley/Grainger silver."

London 2012 gold medallist Alex Gregory: "Oh wow Katherine & @VickyThornleyGB just brilliant!"

Rower Polly Swann: "So incredibly happy for @VickyThornleyGB and Katherine. What a result!! Well done girls."

Analysis - 'The best medal Grainger has won'

Five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave: "There were a lot of doubters and I was probably one of them. They just hadn't shown form like that. They believed in themselves and had the strength of mind to believe they could do it.

"They haven't trained as long as they had to walk away with silver but there was a doubt they would make the final.

"We all would have loved them to have won the gold but as I said to Katherine, that's the best medal she's ever won, because of everything that has happened around it.

"What she has done for the sport, for women's sport, is incredible. I am immensely proud of her.

"If you've had two years out, that is so tough to come back in an endurance sport."

Britain's female athletes medal table

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