Olympics rowing: What are Great Britain's chances of gold?

Great Britain men's eight
Great Britain men's eight

For Great Britain's rowers, the mission is almost complete.

The last four years have been dedicated to winning gold - and over the course of the next four days, each of them will find out whether it was worth all the hard work.

Britain have an impressive Olympic record when it comes to rowing, winning 24 gold, 20 silver and 10 bronze medals since the Games began.

It is also the only sport in which Britain have won gold at every Olympics since 1984 - a run of seven Games - with a certain Sir Steve Redgrave chipping in with five.

BBC Sport asks four British Olympic champions to rate GB's medal chances at London 2012:


Helen Glover and Heather Stanning

Who are they? Reserves two years ago, Heather Stanning and Helen Glover have transformed themselves into a world-beating crew. They are unbeaten in 2012, having won gold in all three World Cups before setting an Olympic best in the first heat to qualify for Wednesday's final.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent: "You'd have to say they're favourites for the event. They have been solid all season and they've got one race left. Their improvement in the last couple of years has been staggering and I think that's made them more fearless. They haven't been fazed by anything."

Olympic gold and bronze medallist Martin Cross: "These two are a nailed on gold medal. World champions New Zealand haven't got it together and it's hard to see the Australians getting close either. It might be the first British female rowing gold medal and maybe even the first British gold of these Games."

Watch them in the final on Wednesday 1 August at 11.50 BST.


Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins

Who are they? Three-time Olympic silver medallist Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins are unbeaten since they paired up in 2010 - a run of 22 victories. They smashed the Olympic record by nearly five seconds in the heats to confirm their tag as favourites.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave: "They seemed so relaxed last week when I saw them and the heats were probably the best I've seen them scull. Everyone talks about three silvers with Katherine but the reality is the first was a surprise, the second was where they should have finished and the third was disappointing as they were joint favourites. Now they're big favourites and a class about everyone else."

Cross: "The heats were a dream start to their Olympic campaign. With Australian rival Kim Crow taking on the single as well, it's hard to see how that extra burden will do anything other than help the British. It looks like the gold Katherine has been waiting for is really on the cards."

Watch them in the final on Friday 3 August at 10:30 BST.


Great Britain's men's lightweight four

Who are they? Richard and Peter Chambers are bidding to become the first British brothers to win gold since the Searles triumphed in 1992. Together with Rob Williams and Chris Bartley, they won gold at the last World Cup in Munich and looked impressive on their way to the final in London.

Redgrave: "This is one of the boats which I would put down as favourites for gold. They put the Australian to bed in the heats in impressive fashion. They've still got work to do, but they've shown they have the potential to win big here."

Pinsent: "They are there or thereabouts. If I could sell them a second, that would be invaluable to them because this event is an absolute battle from start to finish. They have looked impressive so far in the regatta and that will give them confidence going forward."

Watch them in the final on Thursday 2 August at 10:00 BST.


GB men's eight ease into final

Who are they? Constantine Louloudis returned to the boat which includes James Foad, Ric Egington, Matt Langridge, Alex Partridge, Tom Ransley, Mo Sbihi, Greg Searle and cox Phelan Hill - just before the Olympic regatta having recovered from a back injury. They have improved race by race but Germany remain favourites.

Redgrave: "The eight will have great confidence after winning the repechage. Louloudis raced twice this season and that's been in this regatta. The Germans have won every race in last four years, but won't have it all their own way. I think our guys can spring a surprise."

Cross: "They have made a real step on and are in the silver medal zone. The need to do something that I haven't seen from them at all this season to win gold. It's a big ask, but it's not impossible. It would be one of the most sensational performances if they do beat the Germans for gold."

Watch them in the final on Wednesday 1 August at 12:30 BST.


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GB men's four ready for 'biggest race'

Who are they? The boat made famous by Redgrave, Pinsent, James Cracknell and Tim Foster won gold in the last three Olympics. Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory have only raced in this formation since June but they are neck-and-neck with Australia in the battle for gold.

Pinsent: "Watching them in the heats, it was the best I've seen them row. The Australians look good so it sets it up nicely for a clash between those two crews in the final. Coming into the regatta, I would have put the Australians as favourites, but after the heats I'd put us marginally ahead."

Two-time Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell: "We all knew both Britain and Australia would win their respective heats, but it was about who got out of the blocks best and I think that was us. I thought we had a grumbling V8 engine beneath our boat compared to an over-revving Japanese one which the Aussies had."

Watch them in the semi-finals on Thursday 2 August at 10:10 BST.

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