Tokyo Olympics: Cox Henry Fieldman steers Team GB men’s eight to rowing bronze
Henry Fieldman celebrated a bronze medal with Team GB men’s eight at the Tokyo Olympics.
The former Cambridge University Boat Club cox, and current coxing consultant, steered the GB crew to a 14th medal in Olympic history for the men’s eight.
The winners were New Zealand, with Germany in second place and Fieldman guiding the eight of Josh Bugajski, Jacob Dawson, Tom George, Mohamed Sbihi, Charles Elwes, Oliver Wynne-Griffith, James Rudkin and Tom Ford to third.
Wynne-Griffith said: “Overall we’re very proud of the performance. We’ve had a pretty up and down week, we had some honest conversations throughout the week about our processes and getting back to our best.
“We’ve got a medal, it’s not the colour we wanted but there have been a lot of fourth places on the team, a lot of near misses and it’s good to be on the right side of one.
“I’m really proud of the guys, really proud of the row. We did everything we could to put the best race we possibly could on the day out there.
“Fair play to Germany and fair play to New Zealand for putting two really, really fast races together.”
The GB eight, who are coached by former CUBC head coach Steve Trapmore, had gone the long way round to the final, finishing third in their heat and going through the repechages to reach the final.
They made a solid start to the final, and passed the first checkpoint of 500m in second place, just 0.07sec behind leaders Germany.
New Zealand made a powerful move just before the halfway point, and crossed the 1,000m marker in first place in 2.42.63, with the GB eight in second, 1.31sec behind
There was a response from both the Team GB eight and the Germans, but the Kiwis had hit a powerful rhythm that never looked like being caught.
In a three-way sprint for the finish, New Zealand crossed the line first in 5.24.64, and the Germans edged the silver medal from the Brits by just 0.2sec.
Sbihi was the only person in the GB eight to have previous experience of the Olympics, with the other seven rowers and Fieldman debutants at a Games.
He said: “We are a talented young crew. I feel like this week we haven’t been able to show ourselves properly, for one reason or another, and part of learning how to win is extracting a performance out of yourself.
“I feel like we did that today. We put ourselves in a position to challenge for the right medal, and on the risk of that you might end up losing a medal.
“I felt like we were able to compose ourselves through the whole piece. These moments are not guaranteed, the guys will try to be there in Paris and we have to take these opportunities when they come.
“Winning is hard. When you’ve won, to keep that run going is even harder sometimes."