Thanks to Rowing Related for this – it is hilarious.
Wow I called the men’s single final right – Drysdale, Synek, Campbell. Alan Campbell has had a great Olympics and I was so happy to see him get bronze. He was so emotional that I teared up with him. I am also happy that Mahe Drysdale got closure with an Olympic gold. I felt a little bad that nobody really cheered for Synek, because they were still cheering for Campbell and the champions from the previous medal ceremony, Watkins and Grainger from Team GB in the women’s double.
I was also so happy to see the F final in the men’s single. The guy from Tunisia looked pretty good, and the crowd cheered as loudly for the last-place sculler from Niger as they did for the champions. That shows a lot of class.
Congrats to all!
Congrats to the USA Women’s Eight for their gold and to Canada for a valiant sprint. Props to CrossFitter Erin Cafaro in the bow seat. Rumor has it that NBC’s primetime leadoff in the US will be the women’s eight gold medal race!
Congrats to the NZL Men’s double sculls for the most incredible sprint I have ever seen…literally from last place to gold medal in the last 500. I clocked them at 45 spm with 250 to go, about 9 strokes higher than the Italians. I stand in awe of the fitness required to do that, and how a small country can find these superhumans consistently year after year.
So here’s my “call” for the upcoming finals:
- M1x: Drysdale (NZL), Synek (CZE), Campbell (GBR). If there’s a big headwind Karonen (SWE) could nip out Campbell.
- M4-: Australia, Great Britain, USA.
- W1X: Crow (AUS), Knapova (CZE), Karsten (BLR). Have to root for the 40-year old!
- M2-: NZL of course, with everyone else left to sort it out amongst themselves
- Kim Crow (AUS): Will she medal in both the single and the double? That would be amazing!
Anyone have something different in mind?
To take the pressure off, check out this video of the Kiwi House in London from Rowing Related. Did Eric Murray know in advance that Bradley Wiggins would start a muttonchops trend in London? Is Storm Uru even a real name?
Here’s my take so far:
1. What a great venue. Well done Brits. The winds seem to be fairly straight head or tail, and the crowd in the grandstand is deafening. Awesome. Plus the Brits actually sing their national anthem loudly, which is cool!
2. So happy to see the home team doing well. Hearing the crowd roar for Alan Campbell, the men’s eight, and the women’s pair was great. Amazing that the Royal Mail has a stamp drafted with the Team GB Women’s Pair within 12 hours of them winning the gold!
3. I think it’s awesome that the crowd roars for the last place crews from developing countries. They will never forget it.
4. The US men may go home empty handed, which is what I was afraid of. The US women will carry the water this time and are well positioned in several finals, including the bronze today in the quad.
5. Some of the less well known rowing countries are doing quite well and are not that far off the pace, making or winning the B finals. Argentina, Egypt, India, Mexico, Cuba. There seem to be a lot of entries from Africa and the Middle East as well although they have a ways to go to be competitive. This is great for the future of the sport. Now we need a boatbuilder to figure out how to make a $1000 rowing shell.
6. Some of the big names didn’t make it. The US men’s eight, Tim Maeyens and Olaf Tufte in the single.
7. The Kiwis have an incredible sprint across nearly all of their boats, men and women. If you just look at it visually coming into the grandstand, it’s really amazing. Whatever training technique they are using for that kick is clearly something unique in the world and others should look at it.
8. The Kiwi men’s pair and the Australian 4- seem head and shoulders above everyone else. When you look at the semis, only fast crews are left, and they are still out by multiple lengths of open water, it’s just amazing that such a huge leap in human performance could be achieved in less than 4 years. There is something fundamentally different about those boats that we all should learn from.
9. The Brits seem to be trying out a new aerodynamic foil (you can see it to the left on the linked picture) on their bowboxes to direct the air up and over the bowman/woman, much like on the roof of a big rig cab. Good idea. Surprised the Germans didn’t come up with that.
10. This is the first Olympics in which I know very few of the people – the generations are passing and I am getting old. Well done Greg Searle and Ekaterina Karsten – win some hardware for the 40-year olds!
An interesting question – I have noticed anecdotally that the US Women, across all sports, seem to be winning more medals than the men, and especially more gold medals. This is the first time I can recall this happening (can anyone confirm this?). As of today I checked the medal count and found that I was correct – 18 of the US’s 29 medals have been won by women so far. Is this the success of Title IX finally coming to fruition? Any thoughts?
This is a great article from Slate on a little-known story that also happened in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but which has been overshadowed by the better-known victories of Jesse Owens and others in track and field. Fascinating. Also interesting that the winning time in the men’s eight has dropped more than a minute since then. What has not changed is that Washington is still at the top of men’s collegiate rowing in the US. It would be interesting to see what the difference in margin would be if, instead of breaking up the UW eight into selection camps, etc., you just let them stay together until August and race as a unit again the rest of the world. Would they still be fast enough to make the finals?
I, along with many others, am hoping that Sir Steve Redgrave gets to light the cauldron tomorrow night in London. He is one of the very few who (though he never would) could legitimately claim to be among the greatest athletes in any sport from any era. He is one of only four athletes of any sport to have won a gold medal at 5 consecutive Olympics from 1984-2000, dominating his sport worldwide for more than 20 years. I will never forget how the whole world was pulling for him in 2 seat in the last 250m of the Sydney Olympic finals, when everyone knew it was his last race, and the Brits put the hammer down to win by half a length over Italy the home team from Australia with my buddy Geoff Stewart in the boat. Here’s to Sir Steve and cheers to Britain’s greatest Olympian on hosting the Games at home!