British rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover won Team GB’s maiden gold medal of London 2012 on Wednesday after finishing first in the women’s pairs contest.
The result ends the Olympic hosts four-day wait to strike gold.
Glover, 26, and Stanning, 27, finished with a time of 7:27:13 and become the first British female rowers to seal an Olympic title.
In Saturday’s heat, they had beaten the previous Olympic record of seven minutes and one second set in 1996 with their time of 6:57.
The British duo took a commanding early lead and crossed the finish line well ahead to claim the first Olympic gold won by a British women’s crew.
Stanning, who has taken time out of the army and could deploy to Afghanistan next year, and Glover, who is a physical education teacher, only got together in 2010 after missing out on qualifying for other boats.
“Ecstatic,” Glover said afterwards. “It’s so surreal, it will take forever to sink in. We’re just really relieved, thank you so much everyone.”
The performance followed a stunning few years for the pair and reflected the strength of the British system, with Glover only starting to row four years ago after being picked out as someone with potential for her 178 cm height.
Stanning, at 181 cm, started two years before that. She has been given time out of her job in the army to compete at the Games but she is expected to return later this year.
The British pair had jumped out to a length lead in the first 500 metres of the 2,000 metre course and controlled the race to win from Australia in silver and New Zealand in bronze amid deafening roars from the grandstands filled with 30,000 spectators.