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Third time lucky for rowing mum

31 July 2012

ROWING: Four weeks ago, supermum Sarah Tait went under the knife to prepare for the London Games. On Wednesday, she'll attempt to continue British female rowing's Olympic pain.

Britain, the world's top-ranked rowing nation, have surprisingly never won gold in a women's event but they're brimming with expectation of a breakthrough at Eton Dorney.

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover are red-hot favourites to end the drought in the women's pair.

Stanning and Glover have dominated World Cup competition this year, winning all three races, before also setting a new Olympic best time in Saturday's heat as they thrashed world champions New Zealand.

While the British women have taken all before them, Australian duo Tait and Kate Hornsey have endured a disrupted preparation due to injury.

Australia's team captain, Tait decided at the 11th hour to undergo wrist surgery to repair a forearm niggle and ensure she could cope with the expected choppy waters at Lake Dorney, and the move has paid off.

She and Hornsey were also convincing heat winners to loom as the hosts' biggest obstacle to gold.

"Word of the surgery got out and around the world so for them maybe they thought we came in under-prepared or under an injury cloud but they can wipe that from their minds and they can start worrying about how we're going to race in the final," Tait said.

The pair only came together 11 months ago when Tait's crewmate Phoebe Stanley suffered cardiac arrhythmia and missed the world titles in Slovenia.

Despite the change, the Australians took bronze behind the Kiwis and Brits.

For Tait, Olympic success would be doubly sweet.

She is coached by husband Bill and has just become the first Australian mother to row at the Games.

Now at her third Olympics, Tait has had to endured her fair share of hardship after rowing with Sally Robbins in the infamous women's eight in Athens and also finishing last in the eights final in Beijing.

Australia also has a strong medal hope in the women's quad sculls on Wednesday while the men's eight will contest the final of the blue-riband event.

Jim Morton
AAP

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