ETON DORNEY, ENGLAND — American Taylor Ritzel ’10 and Canadian Ashley Brzozowicz ’04 won Yale’s first Olympic medals of the 2012 Games with a one-two finish in the women’s eight rowing final at Lake Dorney on Thursday.

Ritzel and the favored American boat led the race from start to finish to defend their 2008 Olympic victory and take gold. The Americans led by more than two seconds at the halfway mark and held on to win in 6 minutes 10.59 seconds. Brzozowicz and Canada finished in 6:12.06.

Canada was expected to challenge the Americans after recording the top time in Sunday’s heats, but could not upset the six-time reigning world champions. The Canadians closed the gap on the Americans to less than 1.5 seconds by the finish and held off the third place Dutch crew to take silver.

The Australian boat with Tess Gerrand ’10 took sixth, behind fourth-place Romania and fifth-place Great Britain.

Earlier in the day, American Charlie Cole ’07 competed in the men’s four semifinal race. He and his crew took first in their heat to advance to Saturday’s gold medal final.

Check back later for a full recap.