LONDON -- They built a 1.5-second lead at 500 meters, expanded it to 2.34 seconds at the halfway mark, and the beauty of that dominance was that the U.S. women's eight didn't have to endure a nerve-racking, ultra-tight finish.
Try telling that to the athletes, and the friends and family on hand to watch at Eton Dorney on Thursday afternoon at the Olympic Games.
Normal breathing could resume only when the finish line was crossed and the U.S. team successfully defended its gold medal and kept a stunning six-year unbeaten record intact.
The winning time for the United States was 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds -- 1.47 seconds ahead of second-place Canada. Canada moved ahead of the Netherlands by the 1,000-meter mark and stayed in that position. The Netherlands, which won silver in Beijing, took the bronze.