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2000: Redgrave wins fifth Olympic gold

VIDEO : Redgrave celebrates another Olympic gold

British rower Steve Redgrave has entered Olympic history by winning his fifth consecutive gold medal.

Redgrave won his gold alongside Matthew Pinsent, Tim Foster and James Cracknell in the coxless fours on day eight of the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

The crowd of 22,000 dominated by British fans, let out a roar of triumph and relief after a thrilling and nail-biting race that saw the British crew win by less than half a second ahead of their closest rivals Italy at Penrith Lakes.

Pinsent fell into the water as he rushed over to hug his fellow oarsmen and Redgrave slumped over his oars in exhaustion.

It was Pinsent's third successive Olympic gold and a first for Foster and Cracknell.


"This is the stuff of dreams"

Steve Redgrave

According to the Times newspaper, after the race Redgrave said to his crewmates, "Remember these six minutes for the rest of your lives. Listen to the crowd and take it all in. This is the stuff of dreams."

The four Britons took the title over the 2,000-metres course in five minutes and 56.24 seconds, beating the Italians by just 0.38 seconds.

His father, wife and three children were overcome with emotion as they watched Redgrave make sporting history.

Britain's Minster of Sport, Kate Hoey, was also watching the race in Sydney and said he was "the greatest Olympic athlete of all time".

The 38-year-old rower has had a glittering career winning the coxed four gold in Los Angeles in 1984 and the coxless pair golds in Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996.

Only Hungary's Aladar Gerevich beats him in the tally of consecutive golds - he won six in succession between 1932 and 1960 in the team sabre fencing.

After Atlanta he famously announced he should be shot if he went near a boat again. Today he would only say he wanted to enjoy the moment of victory before thinking about his future.

Princess Anne presented the medals as the British National Anthem was played and thousands of spectators shouted "Arise Sir Steve!"

There is little doubt that Redgrave will be knighted for his Herculean achievements. He already has a CBE for services to rowing, adding to the MBE he received 10 years ago.

In Context
A month later, more than 30,000 people turned out to honour and welcome Steve Redgrave back to his home town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire.

He decided not to defend his Olympic title and retired from international rowing in October 2000.

He was knighted the following year. Matthew Pinsent received a CBE, while Tim Foster and James Cracknell collected MBEs.

He is supporting London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Sydney Games were widely acclaimed as one of the best Olympics.

Aboriginal athlete Cathy Freeman lit the flame at the spectatular opening ceremony and went on to be the first Aboriginal to win track gold.


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