INDSOR, England — The United States held off Canada to win a second straight Olympic gold in the women’s eight Thursday, maintaining its six-year dominance of the high-profile event.

The U.S. led from start to finish to win in 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds. Canada finished a half-length behind in second and the Netherlands took the bronze to close the second day of finals at Dorney Lake.

The U.S. hasn’t lost a competitive race in the eight since winning the world title here in 2006, but Canada had closed the gap in the past 12 months, even qualifying for the final in a faster time in the heats.

The Americans successfully defended the title they won in the Beijing Games in 2008. The country’s only previous Olympic gold in the discipline came at Los Angeles in 1984.

The U.S. crew — Mary Whipple (coxswain), Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Boothbay Harbor’s Eleanor Logan, Meghan Musnicki, Taylor Ritzel, Esther Lofgren, Susan Francia and Erin Cafaro — threw their arms up after crossing the line, screaming in delight. Some leaned back into their teammates’ lap.

Logan was also a member of the 2008 women’s eight that won the gold medal in Beijing. She joins a very short list of Maine natives with multiple gold medals. Swimmer Ian Crocker, from Portland, won three gold medals, all from relay teams (2000, 2004, 2008), and Seth Wescott, from Carrabassett Valley, has two gold medals in snowboardcross (2006, 2010).

Relief was evident on their faces but, in truth, there was only ever going to be one winner once the U.S. established a lead of 2.3 seconds by the halfway 1,000-meter mark.

They kept that cushion into the final 500 meters and although Canada gradually trimmed the advantage, the Americans stayed smooth and were in full control.

 

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