I was amazed when I heard about this and stunned at the poll results that were linked to the story when I voted about 5 minutes ago
Poll: Does Sally Robbins’ decision to give up and deprive her colleagues the chance of a medal warrant our sympathy?
Total votes 2597
Yes 1549 59.6%
No 1048 40.4%
Rower quits and costs medal
By PAUL KENT in Athens
August 23, 2004
THIS is one of the most heartbreaking and inexplicable scenes ever seen in Australian sport.
Sally Robbins – a member of the Australian rowing eight – collapses in her seat and stops rowing 600m from the finish line in the Olympic final.
Her extraordinary decision to stop competing was explained by Olympic officials last night as a combination of mental and physical exhaustion.
Her collapse created tension and anger among her teammates because it cost them any chance of a medal.
The crew finished a distant last.
When the crew came ashore, Robbins, 23, was led away by a team doctor while the rest of the crew sat at the end of the dock, alone among themselves.
In one of the more stunning, unusual – however you want to describe it – scenes ever seen in elite sport, Robbins stopped rowing when it became apparent that Australia would struggle to win a medal. She later told team officials that she had rowed herself out and felt unwell.
Coach Harald Jahrling said he had never seen anything like it in more than 35 years of coaching.
The "no-row " has caused a massive fracture within the crew and must now put an awful question mark on Robbins’ chances of being chosen for Australia again.
It appears as though Robbins has committed the greatest crime there is in honest sport.
More than an hour after the race none of the seven remaining women’s eight had spoken to Robbins.
“We have all gone our separate ways at the moment,” Jodie Winter, the two-seat, said.
“I guess we’ll come together,” stroke Kyeema Doyle said.
Even Robbins said, “I haven’t had a chance to talk to them properly.”
Asked whether she had witnessed anything like this before, Winter was silent for a moment, then said: “No.”
The situation blew up in the boat afterwards when the crew headed straight to the dock.
“A lot of things were said,” said Doyle.
“Just pure disappointment and frustration were shown.”
About 650m from the finish line, Robbins stopped rowing and collapsed backwards on Julia Wilson, her oar dropping into the water and pulling the Australian boat down.
Wilson shoved her back up and said something inaudible and Robbins took a few light strokes before she collapsed back on to Wilson again.