Britain's Zac Purchase and Mark HunterBritain's Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter had a bizarre start to the defence of their lightweight double sculls title when their boat broke just a few yards after the race got under way.
The expectant home crowd were stunned into silence when the duo stopped rowing just before the 100m mark, but within a few moments officials rang the bell to signal a restart while Purchase held his broken seat aloft to show what had happened.
The remaining crews - who had all rowed at least twice the distance Purchase and Hunter had - had no choice but to paddle back to the starting line, while the reigning world champion British pair rowed across to the side of the Eton Dorney lake to borrow a screwdriver. Purchase then simply screwed the broken wheel back on, and the race was restarted a few minutes later.
The rules on restarts are quite clear: if part of the boat or oars break within the first 100m, a bell rings and all the competitors line up for the restart.
Sir Steve Redgrave explained to the BBC that the seemingly generous rules date back to the days of wooden oars, when the huge strain of the start of the race often led to breakages. The regulations remain in place, even though carbon fibre technology means that such damage is almost unknown in the modern sport.
The restart appeared to have helped Britain a third gold medal of the morning as Purchase and Hunter led with 500m to go.
But a mammoth effort from the Danish crew of Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist saw them overtake the crowd favourites to claim the gold medal, with Purchase and Hunter settling for silver.