Zoe De Toledo guides Team GB to silver in Rio rowing final


Zoe De Toledo steered Britain’s women’s eight to an historic silver medal in Saturday’s rowing final at the Rio Olympics.

The cox urged her crew to a second place finish behind reigning champions the USA, who were strong favourites.

The GB boat was last at the halfway point of the 2000 metre course but surged through to finish in 6 minutes, 3.89 seconds, narrowly ahead of Romania in the bronze medal position.

Rower Fran Houghton told the BBC that the crew was not worried about being so far down the field. "We trusted Zoe," she said.

It was the first time Britain has won a medal in the event and completed a remarkable turnaround for Ms De Toledo, who four years ago was questioning whether to continue her rowing career after coxing Oxford to defeat in a disastrous university boat race.

Ms De Toledo blamed herself after the Oxford crew lost an oar. Worse was to follow when crew member Alex Woods – now Ms De Toledo's partner – collapsed from exhaustion at the finish line and was rushed to hospital.

Her grandfather, Simon Kaye, 81, told the JC: "There was a 'shall I, shan't I' moment in 2012. Of course what happened would knock your self-belief and confidence.

"Zoe felt responsible for what happened but she is a determined person and always has been. When she puts her mind to it, there is no stopping her."

Mr Kaye, a member of Kenton Synagogue, had predicted that the pressure of the Olympic final would not faze his granddaughter.

"The thing she prides herself on is that she remains calm and does not get overawed by the occasion," he said.

The 28-year-old cox, who is 5ft tall and weighs under eight stone, was cheered on by her by father, Tedi, mother, Laine, and step-dad, Magnus.

The final was her last major race before she returns to Oxford University to study medicine.

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