Helen Glover’s hopes of a third straight Olympic gold suffered a dent when she and Polly Swann could only finish third in their heat of the women’s pair.
Much has been made of their respective Covid-related stories. When the first lockdown struck, Swann went to work on NHS ward rounds as a junior doctor.
Glover, meanwhile, returned to her home rowing machine to initially give herself headspace while her baby twins were having an afternoon nap before realising she was producing the sort of numbers to earn a place in Team GB.
On a sunny morning at the Sea Forest Waterway, there was no sign of the typhoon which has threatened to hit Tokyo in the coming days.
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But Glover and Swann were far from explosive in what proved a relatively slow heat, as Australia dominated the entirety of the race and Russian crew had just enough to keep the British duo at bay over the line.
That third place was something of a surprise for Glover, who had won gold at London 2012 and again in Rio with former pair Heather Stanning before she returned to her military career.
Her chances of a fairytale finish in Tokyo’s waters may have diminished after a poor race by the pair and yet they have a chance to make amends and keep alive their medal hopes in Tuesday’s semi-finals.
“I feel like we both know there is more to come, it wasn’t our perfect row but I guess there’s definitely value in learning in the early rounds,” Glover said.
“So we’re open to what is going to come next. We know we’ve done better in training, we know we’ve felt more together in training, which is actually positive.
“It would be more frustrating if we’d had a perfect row where we didn’t have anything to improve on.”