OLIVIA Whitlam missed out on the medals in today's Olympic final for the women's eight rowers.

The fifth-place finish represents an improvement on the sixth in the women's pair final in Beijing four years ago for the 26-year-old from Daresbury.

"It was a better race than we've had so far here," said Whitlam.

The crew could not hide their understandable disappointment though after failing to threaten the medallists in an event in which TeamGB's women are yet to finish in the top three at an Olympics.

Also in the boat was Victoria Thornley, girlfriend of yesterday's men's eight bronze medal winner Richard Egington.

TeamGB had qualified slowest of the six finalists and were playing cat-and-mouse with the field from the start.

They just managed to squeeze past Australia on the line, but there was no stopping USA from claiming the gold, Canada the silver and Netherlands the bronze.