Rio Olympics 2016: Men's quad blame Russian dopers for Olympic failure

Nathan Flannery, John Storey, George Bridgewater, and Jade Uru row to shore after bowing out of the men's quadruple sculls. Photo / AP
Nathan Flannery, John Storey, George Bridgewater, and Jade Uru row to shore after bowing out of the men's quadruple sculls. Photo / AP

The New Zealand men's quad are bitter a Russian doping infraction left them with little realistic hope of achieving their Olympic rowing goal.

A rushed campaign reached its most likely conclusion when Jade Uru, Nathan Flannery, George Bridgewater and John Storey finished sixth and last in their repechage in Rio.

They barely featured in a race won by Germany. Only the first two crews advanced to the final.

It was always a tall order for the Kiwis given their disrupted preparation.

Their Rio prospects seemingly ended 10 weeks ago when narrowly failing to advance through a sudden death qualifying regatta in Lucerne.

However, a doping suspension to a Russian crew member resulted in that boat's withdrawal from Rio five weeks ago.

It created a slot for the Kiwis, who had hung up their oars for a month. Two members had gone on holiday before learning of the possibility of a promotion.

An intense five-week training blitz at Lake Karapiro wasn't enough to close the gap on their rivals, leaving Storey lamenting they were victims of sport's doping problem.

"It's never good to have those things come out in your sport," he told NZ Newswire.

"Bitterness is there. We did the best with the situation we were given.

"We can't look at the negatives for too long but that's the way it unfolded."

Storey says the four will always wonder how they may have performed with full preparation.

"We had a good training programme and our physiologist put a good thing together for us and built us up as best he could.

"But it was always going to put us on the back foot."

The crew will contest Thursday's B final, in possibly the last international race for Bridgewater.

The 33-year-old returned from six years' retirement in 2014 in a bid to add to his 2008 Olympic pairs bronze medal.

- AAP

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