London, England – Katherine Grainger finally claimed the honor that had been just out of reach over the course of her outstanding career, earning Olympic gold for the first time after winning the women's double sculls on Friday with partner Anna Watkins.
The most successful female rower in Great Britain's history, Grainger came into the London Games having claimed only silver in the previous three attempts -- two in the quadruple sculls and one in the pair.
A former double sculls world champion, Grainger teamed up with Watkins three years ago and the duo has yet to lose. That trend continued on Friday as they never trailed and finished with a time of 6 minutes, 55.82 seconds, 2.73 seconds clear of Australia's Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley.
"It's been a long, long wait. It's not been painful, I've had a great few years. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work," said Grainger.
It was essentially a two-boat race as Britain's duo finished 12.10 ticks ahead of bronze-winning Poland.
"We had a great race," noted Watkins. "There is so much trust and confidence in each other. We didn't know what conditions we were going to get, but it was fine. We knew we'd win from halfway. It's a dream come true."
Crow secured her first Olympic medal and gets another chance for gold as the Aussie is in the final of the single sculls that is set for Saturday.
"It's hard to think too much ahead as today is special and has been for many seasons," reflected Crow.
Another team continued their unbeaten run as New Zealand's Eric Murray and Hamish Bond earned gold in the men's pair. They logged a time of 6:16.65 to best early-charging France by 4.46 seconds.
"It is what we've been working for for the last four years. I'm so glad we pulled it off. We've been on tenterhooks all week, I'm so pleased we came through," Bond said.
Great Britain's George Nash and William Satch won bronze, while defending 2008 silver medalists David Calder and Scott Frandsen of Canada finished sixth.
In the men's quadruple sculls, Germany upset favorites Croatia in the final with a time of 5:42.48. That was 2.30 seconds ahead of Croatia, which won all three world cups this year and had the fastest time of the semifinals in London.
Australia grabbed the bronze.
The final race of the day saw 2008 Beijing bronze medalist Mahe Drysdale upgrade to the gold after the New Zealander won the men's single sculls with a time of 6:57.82.
Drysdale was just fourth after the first 500 meters, but logged the fastest time over the final 1,500 meters to finish first. World champion Czech Ondrej Synek claimed the silver, while Great Britain's Alan Campbell held off Swede Lassi Karonen for the bronze.
The lanes for all four finals on Friday were reallocated and redrawn due to adverse weather conditions -- a crosswind blowing across the course from lane six to one.