Martin Cross |

2000 Olympics women’s quads final: ‘Winning that medal completely shaped the rest of my life’

In a new series celebrating some of the most dramatic Olympic and Paralympic finals since 2000, Martin Cross selects his top races, reliving the experience with athletes involved. In the second Olympic final of the series, we revisit the 2000 Games in Sydney where GB women won their first-ever Olympic medal in the women’s quad. Britain’s Gillian Lindsay and Kerstin Hartleib from Germany reflect on that amazing race

It was the race that started a new era for British women’s rowing. At the end of the quads’ final in the Sydney Olympics: Guin and Miriam Batten, Katherine Grainger and Gillian Lindsay had won Britain’s first-ever Olympic medal in women’s rowing.

They took a brilliant silver medal, holding off the Russians by the narrowest of margins. Ahead of those two crews, the Germans produced a dominant performance to take yet another gold medal in the quad sculls. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. The selection process of the British quad was controversial, and the Germans faced illness during the regatta. Martin Cross got together with Kerstin Hartleib (then Kowalski), stroke of the German quad and Gillian Lindsay, who sculled at ‘two’ in the British crew. It was the first time the two women had met.

Kerstin: I was in the quad because I finished fifth in the German singles trials. It was a big pressure to be part of the German quad because it usually always won. I wasn’t the strongest, but I had a good feel for the rhythm, so I was in the stroke seat. My twin sister, Manja, sculled in the bow seat. Although I always argued with my sister in the past, in the quad we really got on well. Our Olympic selection wasn’t confirmed until the very end.

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