WINDSOR, ENGLAND - The finish line could not come fast enough for Megan Kalmoe and her teammates in the women's quad sculls. The U.S. rowers felt exhausted and spent over the final 500 meters of Wednesday's Olympic final, and when they crossed the line, they were not sure whether they had held off Great Britain for the bronze medal.
When the letters "USA'' flashed onto the scoreboard at Eton Dorney, they could relax and rejoice -- at least for a little while. Kalmoe, who grew up in Minneapolis and St. Croix Falls, Wis., was at once happy and hungry. The bronze was the first medal won by the U.S. rowing team at the London Games, and it was only the second ever for the Americans in women's quad sculls.
But it wasn't gold, which immediately got Kalmoe thinking about the next four years.
Ukraine won its first Olympic gold medal in rowing, covering the 2,000 meters in 6 minutes, 35.93 seconds. Germany overtook the U.S. team of Kalmoe, Adrienne Martelli, Natalie Dell and Kara Kohler to claim silver in 6:38.09. The U.S. team finished in 6:40.63. The U.S. had not won an Olympic medal in the event since 1984.
"We went out for gold," said Kalmoe, who teamed with Dell and Martelli to take a silver medal at the 2011 world championships. "We went hard, we went aggressive and we came away with bronze. But we're happy to win a medal.
"The girls emptied the tank. We had our best performance, I think. I am happy, but we came here for gold. ... There is always room to go up a few steps, and hopefully, next time it will be gold."