Two German canoeing duos won gold in London Thursday. Peter Kretschmer and Kurt Kuschela won in the men's canoe double (C2) 1000m. Tina Dietze and Franziska Weber paddled to victory in the women's kayak double (K2) 500m.
Kretschmer and Kuschela won by almost two seconds, beating out Belarus and Russia for the gold. The duo, who won silver at the European Championships, passed early leaders Azerbaijan with about 200 meters to go. Just a few minutes later, Dietze and Weber won the women's finals with a time of 1:42.213. Hungary was second, and Poland third.
A disappointment, however, came in the men's kayak four (K4) 1000m. Germany's quartet of Norman Brockl, Marcus Gross, Tim Wieskotter and Max Hoff failed to medal, coming in fourth. Australia won the event.
The women's kayak single (K1) 500m finals was another medal miss. Katrin Wagner-Augustin failed to place in the top three in what has been one of Germany's strongest events historically, though she did win her heat.
With the two canoeing victories, Germany has now has nine gold medals in London. That's still far behind the 16 golds they won at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Disaster in dressage
Seeking revenge for disappointing silver in team dressage Tuesday, hopes were high for German riders in individual dressage. Strong rides put them in position to win gold, but what began as a golden day swiftly turned into a disaster.
Kristina Sprehe was first up for the Germans. A strong ride atop Desperados put her in second place overall. After a short break, Helen Langehanenberg outdid Sprehe with a nearly flawless performance, putting her and horse Damon Hill on track to win gold. Germany's last rider, Dorothee Schneider, produced a fluid ride with Diva Royal, good enough for third place and bumping Sprehe from the medals. With just four riders to go, it appeared Germany would extend its reign of equestrian dressage dominance.
What happened next was nothing short of heartbreaking. A scintillating showing by host Great Britain's Laura Bechtolsheimer catapulted her into first, meaning German riders would be upset for the third day in a row. On Wednesday, Germany's show jumpers failed to win a medal for the second Olympics in a row. The day before, Germany was upstaged by Great Britain in team dressage, forcing them to settle for silver.
In the end, Germany failed to medal for the first time since 1980. Gold went to the event's last rider, Britain's Charlotte Dujardin, who set an Olympic record with a score of 90.089.
Later on Thursday, the German men's hockey team defeated Australia 4-2 to advance to Saturday's final against the Netherlands. They beat Great Britain 9-2 in the other semifinal.
Britain wins first women's boxing gold
Great Britain won the first women's boxing gold medal Thursday with Nicola Adams' 16-7 win over world champion Ren Cancan of China in the flyweight final. The victory at the Excel Arena in front of a raucus crowd that included royal Kate Middleton gives the hosts 24 gold medals at this summer's games, and 51 in total.
"I have just wanted this all my life, all this support has really made my day," Adams told the BBC. "I am just so happy and overwhelmed tonight."
American Marlen Esparza and M.C. Mary Kom of India were both awarded bronze after losing in the semifinal.
Women's boxing made its Olympic debut in London after being approved three years ago.
bm,dr/tj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)