The World Rowing Championships will be held in Chungju, Korea, this year, ending what has been a great season of international racing. The year following the Olympics is often thought of as a “rebuilding year” when athletes retire or recommit to another four years. New athletes will try to make it into a camp boat to be trained by national team coaches, or one of the several trials boats, where selection happens based on qualifying regattas. The transition brings fresh energy that creates a great race environment, and this year is no exception.
The three World Cup events were spread across the globe this year in Australia, the UK (at the site of the 2012 Olympics), and Switzerland. The far travel to Australia resulted in less participation by international teams, but this did not leave spectators wanting for more with so many great (and close) races. Most memorable was the Australian Women’s 8+ (rowing with the Skinny shaft) winning by 8/10th of a second over the US and Canada. It was an all-around great race for Australia on their home course with four boats claiming gold, three silver and five bronze. For Team USA, Eleanor Logan had an impressive day: Silver in the quadruple sculls and bronze in the single. Kim Crow (AUS) won the 1x event rowing with the Skinny shaft.
At the Olympics site outside London, Ondrej Synek from the Czech Republic finished 1st (using Concept2 oars) in the men’s single, and last year’s Head Of The Charles® winner, Kjetil Borch (NOR), finished in 5th place. There was a big gap between 1st and 2nd finishes in the men’s pair when Olympic gold medalists Eric Murray and Hamish Bond from New Zealand won by 15 seconds over 2nd place Poland. Eric and Hamish hold the “longest winning streak” with 15 consecutive gold medals at rowing World Cups and World Championships.
The largest of the World Cups was in Lucerne, where everyone was making their last attempts to prepare for Korea. After a 2nd place finish at World Cup I, the USA men’s 8+ narrowly beat out Germany for gold. Ondrej Synek (CZE) returned to the podium in 1st place again in the Men’s 1x and Team USA also finished 1st in the M4- in a close race where the top three boats were all within 8/10ths of a second. After back-to-back 3rd place finishes, Eleanor Logan was able to close the gap on first place Kim Crow for silver. The USA women’s 8+ claimed gold and a new world record best time of 5:54.16 (beating their own record from last year of 5:54.17).
With over 75% of all the athletes at World Cup III using Concept2 oars, we are looking forward to helping athletes take the podium in Korea. If the first three World Cups are any indication, there will be some exciting races among the world’s top rowers. For more information on the upcoming World Championships visit worldrowing.com.