The Rio Olympics Men’s Coxless Four preview

 

Now for the first of my big boat previews, the M4-

 

Australia

Australia

Josh Booth 25

Olympic record: 6th M8 London

World Championship record: 7th M4- 2010, 4th M8 2011, 9th M8 2015

2016 record: 2nd Lucerne M4- World Cup, 3rd M4- Poznan World Cup

Josh Dunkley-Smith 27

Olympic record: 2nd M4- London

World Championship record: 7th M8 2009, 3rd M8 2010, 3rd M4- 2011, 2nd M4-2013, 3rd M4- 2014, 2nd M4- 2014

2016 record: 2nd Lucerne M4- World Cup, 3rd M4- Poznan World Cup

Alex Hill 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 7th M8 2013, 7th M8 2014, 2nd M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- Poznan World Cup

Will Lockwood 28

Olympic record: 2nd M4- London

World Championship record: 3rd M8 2010, 2nd M2+ 2011, 2nd M4- 2013, 7th M8 2014, 2nd M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- Poznan World Cup

Australia have a great Olympic tradition in this event, with the Awesome Foursome winning gold in Barcelona and Atlanta, although they’ve not won a World Championship gold since 1991. At the past two Olympics they’ve gone toe-to-toe with the British and come off 2nd best each time. The M4- for Rio is Australia’s no.1 men’s boat and contains two of the crew that won silver in London, Will Lockwood and Josh Dunkley-Smith. Dunkley-Smith, Donk to his friends, is probably the number 1 rower in Australia at the moment. Since joining the M8 in 2010 he’s medalled at every World Championships. Josh Booth is another London Olympian having finished 6th in the M8. The other member of the crew, Alex Hill, is the youngest in the boat and an Olympic debutant. He won a junior world gold in 2011 and medalled at U23 level in 2012 and 2013 and made his Senior World Championship debut that year as well taking 7th in the M8. The Olympic crew have made one change to the crew that took silver in 2015 with Booth replacing Spencer Turrin. So far this season they had a great battle with the British in Lucerne (where both boats were racing with subs on board) the Aussies led the British till the final few strokes when the pressure the British put them under caused the Aussie boat to catch a crab. In Poznan the Aussies ended up 3rd having been caught by the Italians on the line, clear water behind the British. The showdown between GB and Australia will be one of the highlights of the regatta, I’ve a feeling the Aussies are going to come up short (again). Silver for the “green & gold”.

 

Belarus

belarus_satin_flag_68223_1920x1080

Vadzim Lialin 33

Olympic record: 12th M4- Beijing, 7th M4- London

World Championship record: 15th M4- 2002, 10th M8 2005, 13th M8 2006, 12th M8 2007, 11th M4- 2007, 6th M4- 2009, 9th M4- 2011, 7th M4- 2013, 11th M8 2014, 8th M4- 2015

2016 record: 2nd M4- European Championships, 10th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 5th M4- Poznan World Cup

Dzianis Mihal 30

Olympic record: 7th2X Beijing, 7th M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4X 2005, 1st U23 M2X 2006, 11th M4X 2006, 1st U23 M2X 2007, 5th M2X 2007, 14th M2X 2009, 9th M4- 2010, 9th M4- 2011, 7th M4- 2013, 11th M4- 2014, 8th M4- 2015

2016 record: 2nd M4- European Championships, 10th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 5th M4- Poznan World Cup

Mikalai Sharlap 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 11th M8 2014, 8th M4- 2015

2016 record: 2nd M4- European Championships, 10th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 5th M4- Poznan World Cup

Ihar Pashevic 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 11th M8 2014, 8th M4- 2015

2016 record: 2nd M4- European Championships, 10th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 5th M4- Poznan World Cup

 

Belarus have qualified a M4- for the last two Olympic Games but have yet to make the A-Final. This year’s crew includes two of the crew that finished 7th in London, Vadzim Lialin and Dzianis Mihal. Belarus men’s rowing has been incredibly strong at U23 level, Mihal is a three-time U23 World Champion, but they’ve yet to really step up and make their mark at senior level. This M4- may be able to change that. They took a superb (and somewhat unexpected) silver at the 2016 European Championships, 10th in Lucerne was probably more in the line with expectations of  their performance, but then they went and finished 5th in Poznan, so on their day they are capable of making the A-Final.

 

Canada

Canada flag

Will Crothers 29

Olympic record: silver M8 London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2006, 2nd M4+ 2006, 7th M8 2010, 3rd M8 2011, 14th M4- 2013, 5th M4- 2014, 4th M4- 2015

2016 record: 4th M4- Varese World Cup. 8th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Kai Langerfeld 29

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 3rd M2+ 2012, 5th M4- 2014, 4th M4- 2015

2016 record: 4th M4- Varese World Cup. 8th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Conlin McCabe 25

Olympic record: silver M8 London

World Championship record: 4th M2+ 2009, 7th M8 2010, 3rd M8 2011, 14th M4- 2013, 5th M4- 2014, 4th M4- 2015

2016 record: 4th M4- Varese World Cup. 8th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Tim Schrijver 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 4th M4- 2015

2016 record: 4th M4- Varese World Cup

This is Canada’s only heavyweight men’s sweep boat at the Rio Olympics, for a country steeped in the tradition of the men’s 8 (winners in Barcelona and Beijing and runners-up in London, the focus on small boats during this Olympiad has been tricky to come to terms with. The performance of their top men’s four hasn’t exactly helped the situation. 14th at the 2013 world Championships was a shock to the system. Things are slowly beginning to improve and A-Final finishes at both the 2014 and 2015 World Championships showed that this extremely talented crew is finally beginning to show its pace. But expectations are high, with McCabe and Crothers coming from the Olympic silver medal M8 the lack of a World Championship medal throughout the Rio Olympiad has caused some concern. Their form so far this season hasn’t been too encouraging, 4th in Varese looks positive, but with the absence of the Australians, British & Germans it is perhaps a little flattering. At Lucerne they missed the A-Final (although they were racing with a substitute, Matt Buie, on board). Will they finally be able to put it all together in Rio? I’ve a feeling Canada’s small boat experiment may, ultimately, fail to deliver Olympic medals. I think we may see a M8 lining up for the Tokyo Olympiad.

 

France

6917465-french-flag-wallpaper

Benjamin Lang 29

Olympic record: Missed qualification for London

World Championship record: 11th M8 2007, 2nd M2+ 2008, 5th M2+ 2009, 12th M2- 2011, 6th M8 2013, 5th M8 2014, 10th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- European Championships, 2nd M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 8th M4- Poznan World Cup

Mickael Marteau 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2X 2014, 9th M4X 2014, 16th M4X 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- European Championships, 2nd M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 8th M4- Poznan World Cup

Theophile Onfroy 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World championship record: 4th LM4- 2014, 2nd LM2- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- European Championships, 2nd M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 8th M4- Poznan World Cup

Valentin Onfroy 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 10th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- European Championships, 2nd M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 8th M4- Poznan World Cup

If the Canadians have steered away from the M8 during the Rio Olympiad, the French have gone the other way. In 2013 they took all their top men’s rowers and formed a M8. Unfortunately the boat never really fired, there was talk of dissatisfaction in the boat, Julien Bahain left for Canada, Mortelette and Chardin wanted to race the pair and the eight never looked like challenging the Germans, Brits or Dutch. So, in the end the eight was disbanded and a new four was put together. The French have a good track record in this event, bronze medallists in Beijing and silver medallists in Atlanta. The boat for Rio includes brothers Theophile and Valentin Onfroy. Theophile is a lightweight, stepping up to the heavyweights. They successfully negotiated the Final Qualifying Regatta, securing the final qualifying place for the Rio Games. Technically that makes them the slowest of all the competitors, and I would anticipate a mid B-Final finish for them in Rio.

 

Germany

Germany

Anton Braun 26

Olympic record: 7th M2- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2010, 2nd M8 2013, 5th M2- 2014, 2nd M8 2015

2016 record: 7th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 4th M4- Poznan World Cup

Max Korge 21

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 5th M4- 2015

2016 record: 7th M4- European Championships, 4th M4- Poznan World Cup

Max Planer 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 12th M4- 2013, 2nd M8 2014, 5th M4- 2015

2016 record: 7th M4- European Championships, 7th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 4th M4- Poznan World Cup.

Felix Wimberger 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2010, 12th M4- 2013, 2nd M8 2014, 5th M4- 2015

2016 record: 7th M4- European Championships, 7th M4- Lucerne World Cup, 4th M4- Poznan World Cup.

German sweep rowing is all about the men’s 8….the team is even called the DeutschlanderAchter. For the M4- it tends to be the 2nd priority boat and they’ve not medalled at an Olympics since reunification, and no World Championship medal since taking a silver in 2006. There was a small controversy regarding selection for this year’s crew. Anton Braun won the national small boats championships in Germany but, much to his disgust, was not selected for the top boat, despite racing to a silver medal in that boat class in 2015. There were rumours that Braun quit the team rather than row in any other boat, but in the end he has a seat in the M4- to race at his 2nd Olympic Games. His three crew mates are all Olympic debutants but are still highly experienced; Wimberger & Planer won silver in the M8 in 2014 and Korge raced in this boat class last year finishing 5th. Their best performance so far this season was in Poznan where they finished 4th, 12 seconds behind the British. An A-Final finish will be a great achievement for this quartet.

 

Great Britain

union Jack

Alex Gregory 32

Olympic record: Gold M4- London

World Championship record: 15th M4X 2007, 1st M4- 2009, 4th M4- 2010, 1st M4- 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- European Championships, 1st M4- Lucerne World Cup, 1st M4- Poznan World Cup

Moe Sbihi 28

Olympic record: Bronze M8 London

World Championship record: 2nd M8 2010, 2nd M8 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- European Championships, 1st M4- Lucerne World Cup, 1st M4- Poznan World Cup

George Nash 26

Olympic record: Bronze M2- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2- 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- European Championships, 1st M4- Lucerne World Cup, 1st M4- Poznan World Cup

Constantine Louloudis 24

Olympic record: Bronze M8 London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2- 2011, 1st M8 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- European Championships, 1st M4- Lucerne World Cup, 1st M4- Poznan World Cup

The British consider the Men’s Coxless Four as their boat, they’ve won at the last four Olympic Games and can trace the DNA of the crew all the way back to the LA Games in 1984. In that year Steve Redgrave won his first Olympic gold, he and Andy Holmes won the pair in Seoul, Redgrave then teamed up with Matt Pinsent to win the pair in Barcelona and Atlanta. Redgrave and Pinsent then teamed up with James Cracknell and Tim Foster to win the M4- in Sydney. Pinsent and Cracknell raced with Ed Coode and Steve Williams to win in Athens and then Williams raced with Pete Reed, Andy Hodge and Tom James. James, Hodge & Reed were joined by Alex Gregory in London and won again. Now it’s up to Alex Gregory to continue that tradition and deliver GB’s 5th successive M4- Olympic Gold. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got three outstanding crew mates. Indeed, I reckon Moe Sbihi is possibly the best sweep rower in the world at the moment and in Stan Louloudis the British have one of the finest stroke man in the world. George Nash made his senior World Championship debut in 2013 and has not lost at that level, three World Championship golds later he’s in the crucial 3 seat of GB’s flagship crew. All four of this boat are Olympic medallists and they have 13 World Championship golds between them. As a crew they are unbeaten, although the Aussies gave them a real test in Lucerne. Their performance in Poznan was much more assured and they had clear water over the rest of the field. Anything other than gold in Rio will be a major shock.

 

Greece

Greece

Dionysis Angelopolous 23

Olympic record: Missed qualifying for London

World Championship record: 6th M4- 2014, 9th M4- 2015

2016 record: 5th M4- European Championships, 6th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Ioannis Christou 33

Olympic record: 10th M1X Beijing, 4th M4- London

World Championships record: 5th M2- 2005, 13th M2- 2006, 13th M2X 2007, 8th M1X 2009, 3rd M2- 2010, 2nd M4- 2011, 6th M4- 2014, 9th M4- 2015

2016 record: 5th M4- European Championships, 6th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Ioannis Tsiallis 30

Olympic record: 4th M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2- 2007, 1st U23 M2- 2008, 2nd M4- 2010, 2nd M4- 2011, 6th M4- 2014, 9th M4- 2015

2016 record: 5th M4- European Championships, 6th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Georgios Tziallis 29

Olympic record: 4th M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2- 2007, 13th M4- 2007, 1st U23 M2- 2008, 1st U23 M2- 2009, 10th M4- 2010, 2nd M4- 2011, 6th M4- 2014, 9th M4- 2015

5th M4- European Championships, 6th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Greece just missed out on the medals in London and have three of that crew back again. Ioannis Tsiallis and Georgios Tziallis have raced together for nearly 10 years, they won the U23 M2- title together in 2007 and 2008 and have been in the M4- together since 2010. Ioannis Christou is the oldest member of the crew having made his senior World Championship debut in 2005. The new member of the crew is Dionysis Angelopolous. He missed qualification for London in the M1X and joined the M4- in 2014.  They’ve not been able to get among the medals so far this season, but the majority of this crew are experienced medal winners so will definitely pushing the favourites. Ultimately I think the competition will be a little too tough and the Greeks will probably miss out.

 

Italy

Italy

Matteo Castaldo 30

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 6th M2- 2013, 7th M2- 2014, 1st M4- 2015

2016 record: 2nd M4- Varese World Cup, 2nd M4- Poznan World Cup

Matteo Lodo 21

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st Junior M8 2011, 2012, 4th M4- 2013, 1st U23 M2- 2014, 7th M4- 2014, 1st M4- 2015

2016 record: 2nd M4- Varese World Cup, 2nd M4- Poznan World Cup

Dominico Montrone 30

Olympic record: Missed qualification for London

World Championship record: 4th M4X 2006, 17th M2X 2011, 7th M4X 2013, 9th M8 2014, 6th M8 2015

Giuseppe Vicino 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic record

World Championship record: 1st Junior M8 2011, 4th M4- 2013, 1st U23 M2- 2014, 7th M4- 2014, 1st M4- 2015.

2016 record: 2nd M4- Varese World Cup, 2nd M4- Poznan World Cup

Italy are the defending world Champions and have a strong record at Olympic level. They will always be remembered as the crew that almost stopped Steve Redgrave from winning his 5th Olympic Gold in Sydney and then finished third in Athens. Italian rowing is going through some turbulent times, with two of their top oarsmen, Giuseppe Abbagnale and Carlo Mornati, serving bans for doping. The M4- is the shining light as the first Italian crew to win a men’s heavyweight Olympic class world Championships since 1998. What’s going to be challenging for the Italians in Rio is that Domenico Montrone will have to double up in the M8. The Italians initially missed qualification for the M8 and Montrone was then moved to the M4- to strengthen the crew. But, with the disqualification of the Russian M8 Italy have been promoted and get the final qualifying spot. Olympic rules state that the rower that qualifies via the FOQR has to race in that boat class if they race at the Games.  This could be a real challenge given that some of the 4-‘s and 8’s races are only 30 minutes apart….we’ll have to wait and see what FISA decide to do. If the scheduling difficulties can be resolved then the Italians will be a strong challenger for a medal.

 

The Netherlands

Netherlands

Harold Langen 29

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 14th M4X 2014, 6th M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- Varese World Cup, 11th M4- European Championships, 3rd M4- Lucerne World Cup

Peter Van Schie 28

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 8th M4X 2013, 14th M4X 2014, 6th M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- Varese World Cup, 11th M4- European Championships, 3rd M4- Lucerne World Cup

Govert Viergever 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 5th M8 2013, 8th M8 2014, 6th M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- Varese World Cup, 11th M4- European Championships, 3rd M4- Lucerne World Cup

Vincent Van Der Want 30

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 4th M8 2010, 5th M8 2013, 8th M8 2014, 6th M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M4- Varese World Cup, 11th M4- European Championships, 3rd M4- Lucerne World Cup

 

The Netherlands have never won an Olympic medal in this event (their best ever performance was 4th in 1964), but in 2013 the Dutch won the World Championships (their first medal since taking bronze in 1983) showing that the talent was there to win major medals.  However in 2015 the Dutch decided to prioritise the M8 and moved their World Champion 4- into the bigger boat. This meant that a new boat was put together with Harold Langen and Peter Van Schie moving from sculling to sweep, both were in the M4X in 2013 and 2014. The other half of the crew were Govert Viergever and Vincent Van der Want switching from the 8. None of this quartet have raced at an Olympic before, or indeed won World Championship medals. But their first season together was encouraging, they made the A-Final at the Europeans, the Lucerne World Cup and at the World Championships. In 2016 they went even better, winning bronze at both the Varese and Lucerne World Cups. They might not be as quick as the 2013 World Championship winning crew, but they are part of a very strong Dutch squad that probably ranks as no.4 in the world right now (after GB Germany and New Zealand). The Dutch are an outside bet for a bronze.

 

Romania

romania-flag_990999197

Constantin Adam 20

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: raced as sub in M4- in 2015 – replaced after Heat

2016 record: 9th M4- European Championships, 6th M4- Poznan World Cup

Vlad-Dragos Aicoboae 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 11th M4- 2014, 1st U23 M2- 2015, 11th M4- 2015

2016 record: 10th M2- European Championships, 13th M2- Poznan World Cup

Marius Vasile Cozmiuc 23

Olympic record: 11th M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4- 2013, 10th M4- 2013, 11th M4- 2015

2016 record: 6th M4- Poznan World Cup

Toader-Andrei Gontaru 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championships record: 1st JM4- 2010, 1st JM2- 2011, 1st U23 M4- 2013, 15th M2- 2013, 1st U23 M2- 2015, 11th M4- 2015

2016 record: 10th M2- European Championships, 13th M2- Poznan World Cup

The Romanians have a young crew, with an average age of just 22, but they have a wealth of international experience and have won a hatful of medals at age group levels. Principal among these is Toader-Andrei Gontaru, a double Junior and double U23 World Champion, he’s one of the outstanding young rowers in the world. Three of the crew were part of the U23 boat that won bronze at the 2014 U23 World championships so they are very familiar with eachother. Their best result as senior internationals was at Lucerne in 2015 when they won bronze (Romania’s first medal at a World Cup in the M4- since Lucerne in 1998). They’ve made one change to the crew that raced last year with Constantin Adam replacing Adrian Damii. Unusually this line-up haven’t raced as a 4- so far this season with Gontaru and Aicoboae racing in the M2- and Adam and Cozmiuc racing the 4- with Danut-Viorel Rusu and Alexandru-Cosmin Macovei. Their best result this season was 6th in Poznan and an A-Final in Rio would be a major achievement for this young crew.

 

Russia

Russia

Astem Kosov 30

Olympic record: Missed qualifying for London

World Championship record: 9th M4X 2009, 6th M4X 2010, 15th M2X 2011, 10th M1X 2013, 6th M8 2014, 5th M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M4X Varese World Cup, 1st M4X European Championships, DQ M4X Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Vladislav Ryabcev 28

Olympic record: 8th M4X London

World Championship record: 9th M4X 2009, 15th M1X 2010, 5th M4X 2011, 10th M4X 2013, 11th M4X 2014, 13th M4X 2015

2016 record: 1st M4X Varese World Cup, 1st M4X European Championships, DQ M4X Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Nikita Morgachev 35

Olympic record: 7th M4X Beijing, 8th M4X London

World Championship record: 16th M4X 1999, 11th M2X 2005, 6th M4X 2006, 7th M4X 2007, 10th M8 2009, 6th M4X 2010, 5th M4X 2011, 6th M8 2014, 5th M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M4X Varese World Cup, 1st M4X European Championships, DQ M4X Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Anton Zarutskiy 30

Olympic record: Missed qualifying for London

World Championship record: 10th M8 2009, 26th M4- 2011, 9th M8 2013, 6th M8 2014, 5th M8 2015

2016 Olympic record: 5th M4- Varese World Cup, 4th M4- European Championships, 5th M4- Lucerne World Cup

What to say about the Russians….apart from the fact I don’t think they should be in Rio. This is a scratch crew made up of the only remaining athletes not excluded from competing in Rio due to non-compliance with the IOC’s criteria for inclusion. Such is the doping crisis in Russia that any athlete who has previously been sanctioned for a doping offence is banned as is any athlete who cannot provide evidence of extensive testing outside of Russia. From the entire Russian rowing team of 28 only 6 were deemed to have met the criteria. Three of those were from the M4X that set the world alight earlier in the season by dominating at Varese, the Europeans and the FOQR. However, one of the crew – Sergej Fedorovstev – failed a drug test and the crew were disqualified from the FOQR and lost their spot. From the original M4- line-up only one athlete remains, Anton Zarutskiy. So, coach Mike Spracklen has put together a crew from the leftovers. They all have sweep experience (with the exception of Ryabcev) having raced in the Russian M8 but I don’t think I’m alone in hoping that they come dead last. If one member of a crew is doping then the odds are very strong that he probably wasn’t the only one. I’ve been very vocal in the past months that I didn’t want Russia competing in Rio and I think the worst thing that could happen is for Russia to take a medal, or get close to a medal in this boat class.

 

South Africa

South-African-Flag

David Hunt 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 15th M4- 2011, 1st U23 M2- 2013, 5th M2+ 2014, 7th M2- 2015

2016 Record: 6th M4- Varese World Cup, 1st M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Jonathan Smith 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 13th M4- 2015

2016 record: 6th M4- Varese World Cup, 1st M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Vincent Breet 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2- 2013, 3rd M2- 2014, 13th M4- 2015

2016 record: 6th M4- Varese World Cup, 1st M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Jake Green 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 4th M2+ 2015

2016 record: 6th M4- Varese World Cup, 1st M4- Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

South Africa have never medalled in this boat class at the Olympics, World Championships or World Cups. Their crew for Rio, like the Romanians, is young, with an average age of 23. But, like the Romanians again, they have some very talented young oarsmen. Former Harvard student Vincent Breet won U23 M2- with David Hunt in 2013. IN 2014 Breet partnered Shaun Keeling to a World Championship bronze medal in the M2-. As a four the crew have made a solid start to their 2016 campaign. An A-final placing in Varese was followed by a win at the Final Olympic Qualifying regatta. I think a medal is beyond this crew but I would place them near the top of the B-Final.

 

The USA

USA flag

Charlie Cole 30

Olympic record: Bronze M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2008, 5th M2- 2009, 6th M8 2010, 4th M4- 2011, 6th M2- 2014, 7th M4- 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- Varese World Cup, 4th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Seth Weil 29

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 3rd M4- 2013, 2nd M4- 2014, 7th M4- 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- Varese World Cup, 4th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Henrik Rummel 28

Olympic record: 3rd M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2008, 1st M2+ 2009, 5th M4- 2010, 8th M8 2011, 3rd M4- 2013, 2nd M4- 2014, 7th M4- 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- Varese World Cup, 4th M4- Lucerne World Cup

Matt Miller 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 4th M8 2014, 7th M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M4- Varese World Cup, 4th M4- Lucerne World Cup

 

The USA last won Olympic gold in this event back in 1960, but have won a number of medals since then, (bronze in ’63 and 2012 and silver in 84, 88 & 92). Normally the USA men’s sweep rowing is all about the eight, but they seem to have been going through something akin to a crisis of confidence over the last couple of years. The M8 is definitely not the boat it used to be. The US had the shock of failing to qualify direct via the World Championships and had to rely on the FOQR to book their slot in what many see as the Blue Riband event of the regatta. Indeed, the US have only medalled twice in the M8 at the last 8 World Championships (& those were bronzes). So, instead of the M8 the US have been prioritising the M4- and have put together a boat that they feel is more than capable of matching the British, Australians and Italians. They’ve made two changes to the crew that won a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships, with Mike Gennaro and James Grant being replaced by Matt Miller and Charlie Cole. They suffered a disappointment in 2015 when they missed the A-Final but were disrupted during the regatta through illness and the performance definitely suffered because of it. So far in 2016 they have definitely stated their intentions to be among the medal contenders. They won in Varese, beating the Italian World Champions (although neither the British nor the Australians competed in Varese). In Lucerne, where the British and Aussies were racing, they took 4th (beaten to the bronze by the Dutch). With medals at both 2013 and 2014 world Championships and at the 2016 Varese world Cupthe US will definitely be contenders for a medal. II’m picking them to be battling for the bronze with the Aussies, Italians and Dutch. If the scheduling issues don’t disrupt the Italians too much then I think they will just pip the US for the final place on the podium.

 

 

So, huge pressure and expectation on the British to deliver the 4th successive M4- Olympic Gold medal, but they have the crew to deliver and if they row to their abilities it’s difficult to see anyone beating them. Australia look to be the best of the rest with three or four nations battling it out for the bronze – Italy, the USA, The Netherlands and Canada all in with a shout for a medal.

GB M4- 2016.jpg

GB’s M4- Hot favourites to make it five consecutive Olympic golds

 

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One thought on “The Rio Olympics Men’s Coxless Four preview

  1. Pingback: Olympic mens coxless four preview • Rowperfect UK

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