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US win gold in women's eight, men take bronze

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The United States rowing team won a gold medal Sunday at the Beijing Olympics, beating the field in the women's eight competition.

The U.S. women's eight team finished the 2,000-meter race in 6 minutes, 5.34 seconds to earn the gold. The Americans had won a silver medal in the eight at the 2004 Athens Games. Only Mary Whipple, Anne Cummins and Caryn Davies were members of both teams. The remaining members of the team were Erin Cafaro, Lindsay Shoop, Anna Goodale, Elle Logan, Caroline Lind and Susan Francia.

"We rode a boat called The Hunter, we hunted everyone all the way down," said Cummins.

The Netherlands and Romania had it out for the silver medal and the Dutch crossed the finish line first, just .03 seconds ahead. The Romanians were denied a fourth straight gold medal in this event.

The Americans failed to defend their gold medal from Athens in the men's eight, but did claim bronze, finishing just .23 seconds behind Great Britain for second place. The U.S., which posted a time of 5:25.34, returned Beau Hoopman, Wyatt Allen and Bryan Volpenhein from the gold-medal squad of four years ago.

The favored Canadians won the event in 5:23.89, becoming the first defending world champion in 35 years to collect men's eight gold at the Olympics.

All told, seven gold medals were awarded on the final day of rowing competition.

China won its first-ever rowing gold medal as the team of Tang Bin, Jin Ziwei, Xi Aihua and Zhang Yangyang won the women's quadruple sculls event. The Chinese crossed the finish line in 6:16.06, beating the defending world champion team from Great Britain by 1.31 seconds. China has five Olympic rowing medals, all of them won on the women's side.

Germany won the bronze in a time of 6:19.56, besting the Ukraine by just .46 seconds. The U.S. was a distant fifth.

Poland won gold in the men's quadruple sculls, finishing in 5:41.33, easily defeating the Italians, who crossed the line 2.24 seconds later. France picked up silver by finishing just .34 seconds ahead of Australia, while the U.S. finished fifth.

The Netherlands won gold in lightweight women's double sculls, as Kirsten van der Kolk and Marit van Eupen won the race in 6:54.74. The Dutch pair won a bronze medal four years ago in Athens. Finland finished in 6:56.03, coming in just .65 seconds ahead of the Canadians for the silver medal.

In the men's lightweight double sculls, Great Britain's Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter took the gold medal with a time of 6:10.99. The Greeks were just .73 seconds behind for silver and the Danes earned bronze by finishing in 6:12.45.

Purchase and Hunter were less than a second away from the world record time of 6:10.02, a mark held by the bronze-medal winning team of Mads Reinholdt Rasmussen and Rasmus Nicholai Quist Hansen.

Denmark posted the fastest time in both the heats and semifinals of the lightweight men's four and continued its dominance in the final, winning the gold with a time of 5:47.76 to repeat as Olympic champions. The Danes have earned a medal in this event at every Olympics since it was introduced at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Poland took the silver, finishing 1.63 seconds behind the Danes, and Canada earned the bronze.

08/17 06:09:10 ET