RIO DE JANEIRO — The U.S. boat was in third place halfway through the race when coxswain Katelin Snyder shouted the magic words: “This is the U.S. women’s eight!”
Yes, it was.
The crew responded and did what it always does: It won.
The U.S. women’s eight is a seemingly invincible boat, with 11 consecutive world and Olympic titles since 2006.
Only two crew members remained from the boat that won gold in the London Olympics, and only one from Beijing four years earlier.
It didn’t matter.
Canada led the race after the first 1,000 meters of the 2,000 meter race, with the U.S. in third. But when Snyder unleashed her rallying cry, everyone knew what had to happen.
“She yelled, ‘this is the U.S. women’s eight!’ And we rallied,” said Kerry Simmonds, who rowed in seat No. 2.
Snyder, always playing down her role as the coxswain — the only person in the boat without oars — said she told the crew to “trust your fitness, and trust the plan and trust your teammates.”
She probably did. But what about that the part of being the U.S. women’s eight — a dynasty that stands out in team sports?
“I did say that,” she said, bashfully. “I think it was in the third 500 (meters). And everyone was going together. I was going with them and they were going with me.”
The U.S. crew won the race in 6 minutes, 1.49 seconds. As Canada faded after its aggressive start, Britain took the silver and Romania the bronze.
It was the first U.S. gold medal in the rowing regatta and second overall, after Genevra Stone’s silver in the women’s single sculls.