Kiwi rower Emma Twigg has buried the demons of Olympics past, winning gold in the women's single scull finals at the Tokyo Olympics this afternoon.
Twigg was the first of three New Zealand boats to compete in medal finals this afternoon with both the women's eight and men's eight still to come.
Twigg was strong out of the block, tussling with Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig for first place over the first 500m.
Twigg drew first blood though, snatching a 0.23 second lead at the 500m mark where she was looking relaxed and in rhythm early on.
The 34-year-old’s stroke rate stayed consistent over the next 500m, comfortably pushing along as she carved out more of a lead over the field.
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The lead had stretched considerably at the halfway mark, pushing out to 2.18 seconds with 1000 metres to go.
The field continued to fall further and further back from the Kiwi with the Russian Olympic Committee’s Hanna Prakatsen now the next closest with 500 metres to go but 2.73 seconds to claw back.
It was a deficit too big though with Twigg crossing the line first in an Olympics best time of 7:13.97.
Prakatsen came across second 3.42 seconds further back with Lobnig taking the bronze.
The result finally ends years of heartbreak for Twigg who finished fourth at both the London Olympics and in Rio.
That second podium miss saw Twigg initially retire from rowing but in 2019 she opted to get back in the boat for one last crack, telling 1 NEWS at the time having a bit of time away "really gave me an appreciation for what it is to be an Olympic athlete".
This afternoon, she became an Olympic champion.
"I can't believe it," Twigg told Sky Sports shortly after the race.
"I'm lost for words; many, many years of disappointments. I think this is going to take some time to sink in.
"But I feel like this is fate and here we are... to anyone who has had a little bit of failure, keep at it."
Twigg said she took inspiration from women's pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast's golden performance yesterday, channelling their mantra of rowing your own race in the big moment.
With that said, she feels there's more special moments to come.
"Bring on the eights!"
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