LONDON - They only started rowing together five months ago and only one member of the boat had previous Olympic experience.
That didn’t seem to faze the men’s four. On Saturday they rowed their hearts out, winning the bronze medal at Eton Dorney with a time of 6:07.20. It was Team USA’s first medal in the event in 20 years.
"We came here and wanted to have our best race,” said Glenn Ochal. “We were against good crews and we're damn excited to get where we are."
The U.S. held the third position throughout the race, trailing favorites Australia, which took silver with 6:07.20, and Great Britain, which won its fourth consecutive gold in the event with 6:03.97.
"We laid down a powerful rhythm and pounded down the course, and now we can go home with smiles on our faces,” said Scott Gault, who also competed in the Beijing Games four years ago. “Before the end, we had nothing left, and in the last 250 meters, we put everything on the water."
Gault is the oldest member of the boat at age 29. Charlie Cole and Ochal are 26, while Henrik Rummel is 24.
“We're young guys,” Cole said. “We have a lot to look forward to, hopefully a lot to be positive about.”
The boat entered the final with momentum, winning both its heat and the semifinal. The final, though, featured an extremely competitive field. Great Britain was not only the three-time defending champion in the event, but the hometown team with a loud, supportive crowd. Australia was the last team besides Great Britain to win gold in the event.
“It felt good and I really thought we were going to catch them,” Rummel said. “They did a good job of holding us off.”
In other races Saturday- the final day of rowing - the women’s lightweight double sculls finished fifth in the B final in 7:23.31 for an overall 11th-place finish. In women’s single sculls, Gevvie Stone finished first in the B final with a 7:45.24 to place seventh overall.
The bronze in the men’s four was the third medal for U.S. rowing at these Games. The women’s eight won gold, while the women’s quadruple sculls crew earned bronze.
The members of the men’s four were all smiles after standing on the podium – but they’re already looking forward to the future.
“Bronze is great,” Ochal said. “But there are still two boats ahead of us we want to catch.”