TEAM GB's bid for a sixth straight Olympic gold in the men's four ended in farcical fashion as they missed out on a medal altogether.

The crew, which included City of Oxford rower Sholto Carnegie and Oxford Brookes University's Rory Gibbs, finished fourth overnight at Tokyo 2020.

Britain tried to chase down Australia, who set a fierce pace from the start to take gold, but instead were overtaken by Romania and Italy - with the British team almost crashing into the latter in the final 500 metres after briefly leaving their lane.

Carnegie had to console crewmate Ollie Cook, who claimed responsibility for the steering issues, during an emotional post-race interview.

Teammate Matt Rossiter added: “We tried our best but we really screwed up there at the finish, so it’s a bit heartbreaking.

"There’s no sugarcoating it – we’re absolutely devastated.

“In a coxless boat one rower will steer with their foot.

"It’s tough at the best of times, but it was choppy out there and, when your vision is going blurry and your body is going stiff with lactic acid, it’s sometimes hard to stay on the ball.

“In the heat of the moment we let concentration go. We fully biffed into the Italians.

"They are pretty p***ed off because maybe we cost them the silver and sorry to those guys.

"It’s an outdoor sport and this stuff happens.

"It’s just heartbreaking when it’s you and not something on YouTube.”

Carnegie added: “I don’t think we can blame anything.

"All season we’ve obsessed about being consistent and when it really mattered we weren’t consistent.”

The four were regarded as Britain's best hope of a rowing medal, while there was disappointment for one of their Oxfordshire counterparts.

The women's eight, featuring Bicester's Fiona Gammond, were a distant last in their repechage this morning and do not progress to the final.

Brookes rower Quentin Antognelli, who competes for Monaco, goes in the men's single sculls semi-final at around 3am BST tomorrow.