Gia Doonan's mom Liza was ready last night. Her nails were done with Olympic logos. Steak and salad were in the fridge. There was no viewing party, just Gia's parents and her godfather, who had driven down to Rochester from Maine.

"It was the longest day," Liza Doonan said. "It felt like race time would never come." She drove to the Dartmouth Mall to kill some time, walked in every store, dazed. She left without buying a thing. She was so distracted thinking about her daughter rowing for the gold last night.

The Doonans had made reservations in Tokyo and never canceled them with the hopes that something would change and spectators would be allowed. Needless to say, that never happened.

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When race time finally arrived last night, the United States was off to a slow start and Canada was off to the races.

"Canada's rowing too fast," my daughter said. "They're going to burn out." The U.S. had a slow start in their initial heat, and roared back to win the race, punching their ticket straight to the finals. Last night, however, was Canada's night.

This morning, when Gia Doonan joined us live from her Olympic Village apartment in Tokyo, we asked her if she thought if going straight to the finals might not have helped Team USA.

"That's a really good question," said Doonan. "It's hard to say. More race experience is always good. Teams that did not go straight to the finals definitely got to see the different speeds throughout the playing field, but I'm not sure."

Doonan told us that she did intend on continuing on in her Olympic journey. She will continue her training for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

"I still love the sport, and I don't think that I've reached my potential," she said. "Really, it's only two years until you can qualify for the Olympics again (because of the delay due to COVID). I'm 27 right now, and I think the peak age for rowing is 29 or 30."

LOOK: 20 Fascinating Photos From the First Modern Olympic Games in 1896

To celebrate the history of international sports cooperation, Stacker took a look back at that groundbreaking event in Athens, when the modern Olympics were born in 1896. Keep reading to learn more about the athletes, spectators, and sports at that iconic event.

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