Katherine Grainger has become the most decorated female British Olympian ever, winning women’s double sculls silver with Vicky Thornley at Rio 2016.
On a stunning morning at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the 40-year-old wrote her name into the record books by winning a fifth medal to move ahead of swimmer Rebecca Adlington.
Grainger was only just unable to retain the gold won with Anna Watkins at London 2012, but securing silver with Thornley at the age of 40 is a remarkable feat.
It is another silver for Grainger having also finished second at Sydney 2000,Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
This one comes less than two years after returning to the sport having completed a PhD in the sentencing of homicide at King’s College London.
The journey to Brazil has been bumpy, with the 40-year-old and 28-year-old Thornley deciding to abandon the double sculls project midway through the season, only to reform having failed to qualify for seats in the eight.
Their selection in the double sculls was confirmed a month and a half ago and the duo have impressed in Rio, finishing second in both the heats and semi-finals at the Lagoa.
Things started brightly in the final as they crossed the 500m mark in the lead, which was stretched to 0.64 seconds over the Polish crew at the halfway point.
It was nip and tuck for a while, only for Grainger and Thornley to open up a 1.25secs lead heading into the final stretch.
However, Poland’s Magdalena Fularczyk-Kozlowska and Natalia Madaj were able to kick on to grab gold, with the British crew finishing an agonising 0.95s behind.