Graham Letcher and Vicky Newman could feel the butterflies in the stomach the moment they saw their son on the start line in Tokyo.
Luke Letcher took his place in Australia's quadruple sculls line-up in the final at the Tokyo Olympic Games as his parents took their seats inside a Kingston Foreshore pub on Wednesday morning.
"Oh I didn't see most it you know, just hiding behind my hands," Vicky said when asked about watching the race. Graham was nervous but more concerned with how his son and teammates were feeling.
Before long all the butterflies turned to elation as Letcher and fellow Canberra rower Caleb Antill added another chapter in an incredible hour of power for Australia at the Tokyo Games which delivered five medals in quick succession.
The men's quadruple sculls crew of Antill, Jack Cleary, Cameron Girdlestone and Letcher finished with a burst to get on the podium behind the Netherlands and Great Britain.
"They executed their plan, whatever their plan was, well, and they've done a good job. I think they'll be happy with the result considering that the competition, in particular the Dutch, are just so good," Graham said.
"That's a really tough class of boats to row against and they've done really well".
Rowing wasn't always a passion for Letcher, and his dad's recount of the moment his son's life took a sharp turn towards what would slowly grow into an Olympic dream shows how influential one tiny decision can be.
"He had a form to fill in, do I do basketball? boring, and he didn't want to do boring," Graham said.
"He'd already done athletics and he didn't want to do swimming because he couldn't swim. So, the last one on the list was rowing and he said, 'can I do that' and we said yeah so that was good."
Vicky is proud of how well Luke has done to overcome various challenges and finally compete at an Olympics, admitting that she didn't see much of it as nerves got the better of her.
"He's had quite a difficult journey, not just with COVID but with other issues that have been going on in rowing, and just the fact he got into the Olympics was just great, and this is just like topping on the cake," Vicky said.
"Initially he was in the national training centre and then he wasn't. So, he's had a super effort to get back into the team.
"He's been an outsider who's done much better doing his own thing in rowing. That's what makes it even more ... Because he's had a super low and now this is a good high."
The men's and women's quad scull crew claimed bronze medals to cap a memorable morning for Australia in Tokyo.
Australia's rowers are on top of the world with the men's and women's coxless four crews both winning Olympic gold. The men ended Great Britain's five-Olympic dominance of the event, wresting back the mantle of Oarsome Foursome.
And the men's fours crew of Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill found inspiration in the most unlikely of sources.
Turrin started yelling out the name of his favourite NRL team - the Canberra Raiders - to inspire his teammates to hold off the Romanians.
"I yelled out his dad's name as I know it gets him going. And then Spencer is like 'come on Raiders'. Over the last 100 it was Raiders, Raiders, Raiders," Purnell said.
"We obviously wanted to win it back - it's been a long time, it was 25 years yesterday since the Oarsome Foursome won."
Australia's men will happily share the "Oarsome Foursome" tag with the women, who took gold in the four in a return to the Olympic schedule after a near 30-year absence.
Among the crowd watching on at The Dock in Canberra was gold medallist Purnell's partner Laura Trigg.
"Amazing, It's absolutely surreal. I know how hard he's worked for this moment and the support here in Canberra is incredible. His parents are in Sydney at the moment so they're in lockdown" Trigg said.
"I would have gone over there but I totally understand, I mean I work in a hospital, and I understand how it's important that we need to minimize the risk of COVID, so whatever it meant for them to compete, I'm happy with."
Day five marked the fifth time Australia has won three golds in a day, a feat achieved in 1956, 2000, 2004 and 2008.
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