South Africa's rowing team coach Paul Jackson says their consistency and accurate execution of their race strategy was crucial in achieving their gold medal at the Olympic Games on Thursday.
The quartet of Sizwe Ndlovu, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and James Thompson snatched victory in the last few metres of the 2 000m course.
"Our relative position in the race was according to plan with an even-paced race strategy," Jackson said.
"We are very quick in the last 500m and people who go up on us will pay for it – and they did.
"People have said we were down on fourth at the 1 000m, but if you look at our splits, it was 1:30, 1:31, 1:30, 1:29 and that's very even and it was exactly as we planned."
The South Africans started conservatively, going through the 500-metre mark in third place, and dropping back to fourth as they reached 1 500m.
At that stage, Brittain said, he had resigned himself to finishing in fourth place.
"It was pretty epic when we saw the newspaper
and there was a photo of us on the front page."
"I remembered sitting in the race thinking, ‘ah we are in fourth place, I guess fourth is not that bad,' said Brittain.
"Then luckily we came though the halfway and we all committed everything we had and suddenly fourth became third."
Ndlovu, who became only the second black South African to earn an Olympic gold medal, behind 1996 marathon champion Josiah Thugwane, said he believed from the start that they could win the race.
"Of course I believed – you have to believe it to go through the race," Ndlovu said.
"From the start, the conditions were good and we went through the race with nice rhythm.
"It was at the halfway mark that I really believed we'd got it and we were fine."
Brittain said the crew still had to get to grips the sudden media attention they had received after their golden row.
"It seems pretty overwhelming from home – it was pretty epic when we saw the newspaper and there was a photo of us on the front page," Brittain said.
"I wasn't expecting that so I guess that made me realise it was bigger than I thought it was going to be."
The team and their management praised Olympic body Sascoc and Rowing SA for the support they had given the team over the last three years.
"This performance has been more about consistent support from Lottery and Sascoc as you can't build a four in the final year," Jackson said.
"This result was built in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and this year was about rounding it off."