Th Rio Olympics Men’s 8 preview

Now time for what mean think of as the Blue Riband event of the Olympic Rowing regatta, the Men’s eights

 

Great Britain

union Jack

Will Satch 27

Olympic record: Bronze M2- London

World Championship record: 1st M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Andy Hodge 37

Olympic record: 9th M8 Athens, Gold M4- Beijing, London

World Championship record: 6th M8 2002, 3rd M8 2003, 1st M4- 2005, 2006, 4th M4- 2007, 2nd M2- 2009, 2010, 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Matt Langridge 33

Olympic record: 7th M2X Athens, silver M8 Beijing, 3rd M8 London

World Championship record: 9th M4X 2003, 7th M4X 2005, 5th M8 2006, 3rd M2- 2007, 1st M4- 2009, 4th M4- 2010, 1st M4- 2011, 9th M2X 2013, 2nd M2- 2014, 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Scott Durant 28

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 5th M4- 2013, 2nd M2+ 2014, 3rd M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Paul Bennett 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st M8 2014, 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Pete Reed 35

Olympic record: Gold M4- Beijing, London

World Championship record: 1st M4- 2005, 2006, 4th M4- 2007, 2nd M2- 2009, 2010, 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships. 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Matt Gotrel 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st M8 2014, 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Tom Ransley 30

Olympic record: Bronze M8 London

World Championship record: 5th M8 2009, 2nd M8 2010, 2nd M8 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014, 3rd M4- 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Phelan Hill 37 (cox)

Olympic record: Bronze M8 London

World championship record: 4th M4+ 2007, 5th M8 2009, 2nd M8 2010, 2011, 1st M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 European Championships, 4th M8 Lucerne World Championships, 2nd M8 Poznan World Cup

Great Britain were Olympic Champions in this event in 2000 and have won medals at the last two Olympics. So far during the Rio Olympiad they have won gold at all three World Championships, and they’ve a stated ambition to win all 3 World Championships and the Olympic gold in one Olympiad, something only the Germans have ever done before (which they achieved by winning gold in London). But, crucially for 2016 coach Jurgen Grobler has taken his top 4 out of the 8 to make a new M4-. In their place has come double Olympic gold medallist Andy Hodge and former world champion Matt Langridge. The other new comers are Scott Durant and Olympic bronze medallist Tom Ransley. The target for Grobler is to repeat the success of Sydney in 2000 when both the M4- and the M8 won gold. Heading into Rio the M4- are the hot favourites, but the M8 is a little more uncertain. The crew will have the confidence of three back-to-back World Championship victories, but in their new configuration the results have been a little more mixed. Bronze at the Europeans followed by 4th in Lucerne (albeit racing with Alan Sinclair in place of an ill Pete Reed). When the crew was back to full strength in Poznan they had a great race, leading to the half way mark before being overhauled by their nemesis, the Germans, who went on to win by just over ½ second. But, the signs are encouraging that Great Britain will be one of the main contenders for the gold medal. I’m picking the GB boys to do it and get gold.

 

 

Germany

Germany

Eric Johannesen 28

Olympic record: Gold M8 London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4X 2008, 2nd U23 M2X 2010, 5th M2- 2010, 1st M8 2011, 2nd M8 2013, 2nd M8 2014, 2nd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Felix Drahotta 27

Olympic record: 4th M2- Beijing, 7th M2- London

World Championship record: 7th M2- 2009, 6th M2- 2011, 2nd M8 2013, 2nd M8 2014, 2nd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Richard Schmidt 29

Olympic record: 6th M4- Beijing, Gold M8 London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4- 2007, 1st M8 2009, 2010, 2011, 2nd M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Andreas Kuffner 29

Olympic record: Gold M8 London

World Championship record: 5th M2- 2010, 1st M8 2011, 2nd M8 2014

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Hannes Ocik 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 2nd U23 M4+ 2010, 1st U23 M4- 2011, 3rd U23 M2- 2012, 2nd M8 2013, 2nd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Malte Jakschik 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

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

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Max Munski 28

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2010, 3rd M2+ 2010, 6th M2- 2011, 2nd M8 2013, 8th M4- 2014, 2nd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Max Reinelt 27

Olympic record: Gold M8 London

World Championship record: 2nd U23 M8 2007, 2009, 1st M8 2010, 2011, 2nd M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

Martin Sauer 33 (cox)

Olympic record: Gold M8 London

World Championship record: 9th LM8 2001, 1st U23 M4+ 2003, 1st U23 M8 2004, 3rd M4+ 2005, 1st M4+ 2006, 3rd M4+ 2007, 2nd LM8 2008, 1st M8 2009, 2010, 2011, 2nd M8 2013, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 European Championships, 2nd M8 Lucerne World Cup, 1st M8 Poznan World Cup

As far as German men’s rowing is concerned the eight is all that matters, the team is even called the Deutschland-Achter – The German 8. As mentioned above, the Germans dominated this event in the London Olympiad, winning the World Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before crowning it off with gold at the 2012 Olympics. The British have been their nemesis for the past 6 years, finishing runners up to them in 2010 and 2011. In the Rio Olympiad the tables have been turned and it’s GB that has dominated. The Germans will have hated playing 2nd fiddle to the Brits, in an event that they see as theirs. The crew for 2016 includes five of the boat that won gold in London and another, Felix Drahotta, with Olympic experience, the only “new boys” are Max Munski and Malte Jakschik. So this boat has a huge amount of experience and so far this season they’ve made a pretty good start to the defence of their Olympic title. Winners at the European Championships they suffered a surprise defeat in Lucerne, it wasn’t the British, but the Dutch who turned over both the Germans and the British to make everyone aware the gold in Rio isn’t going to be a two horse race. The Germans took another gold in Poznan, but crucially the Dutch were absent. So, the Germans probably head into Rio as the marginal favourites for gold but it’s going to be one of the races of the regatta to see them take on the British, Dutch and Kiwis (more on them later). I’m backing the Brits to take the gold a few feet ahead of the Germans.

 

 

 

Italy

Italy

Luca Agamennoni  36

Olympic record: Bronze M4- Athens, silver M4X Beijing, 8th M4- London

World Championship record: 2nd M4+ 2001, 6th M4X 2003, 3rd M2- 2005, 2nd M8 2006, 6th M4X 2009, 2nd M4X 2010, 10th M4- 2011, 6th M8 2015

2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Matteo Stefanini 32

Olympic record: 19th M1X Athens, 11th M4X London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M2X 2005, 2nd U23 M2X 2006, 4th M4X 2006, 6th M4X 2009, 2nd M4X 2010, 6th M4X 2011, 16th M4X 2014, 6th M8 2015

2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Simone Vernier 31

Olympic record: 10th M4X Athens, Silver M4X Beijing, 8th M4- London

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2006, 4th M4X 2006, 18th M2X 2007, 2nd M4X 2010, 6th M4X 2011, 7th M4X 2013, 16th M4X 2014, 10th M4X 2015

2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Vincenzo Capelli 27

Olympic record: 8th M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4+ 2007, 2nd U23 M4+ 2009, 1st U23 M4- 2010, 6th M4- 2010, 1st M2+ 2011, 8th M8 2013, 9th M8 2014, 5th M2- 2015

2016 record: 4th M2- Varese World Cup, 20th M1X Poznan World Cup

Pierpaolo Frattini 32

Olympic record: 7th M8 Athens, 11th M4X London

World Championship experience: 2nd U23 M8 2005, 2nd M8 2005, 3rd U23 M8 2006, 2nd M8 2006, 6th M8 2009, 2nd M2+ 2010, 1st M2+ 2011, 8th M8 2013, 9th M8 2014, 6th M8 2015

2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Emanuele Liuzzi 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4+ 2010, 8th M8 2013, 9th M8 2014, 7th M2+ 2015

2016 record: 10th M4- Varese World Cup

Fabio Infimo 28

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 8th M8 2013, 9th M8 2014, 6th M8 2015

2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Mario Paonessa 25

Olympic record: 8th M4- London

World Championship record: 1st U23 M4- 2010, 6th M4- 2010, 2nd U23 M4- 2011, 4th M4- 2013, 7th M4- 2014, 10th M4X 2015

2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Enrico D’Aniello 20 (cox)

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st LM8 & 1st M2+ 2013, 9th M8 2014, 6th M8 2015

2016 Record: 2016 record: 2nd M8 Varese World Cup, 3rd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Like Australia in the W8, the Italians are lucky to be racing in Rio. They were given a last minute entry after the Russian M’s was disqualified from the Games by FISA in response to the McLaren report on doping. The Italians missed qualifying directly at last year’s World Championships when they finished 6th in the final with only the top 5 qualifying. This meant they had to go through the Final Qualifying Regatta. The 2016 season started encouragingly with a good silver medal behind the Dutch at the Varese World Cup, but in a fierce battle at the FOQR they finished in third, behind the USA and Poland, with only the top two qualifying. At the time it looked like their Olympic dreams were over. The crew stayed together however and raced in the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley. At Henley they were convincingly beaten by the GB U23 crew which was a disappointing result for the Azzuri. But, with the expulsion of the Russians the dream was back on. This did cause some logistical headaches for the Italians, as a couple of the crew had been moved to other Olympic boats. Now, the Qualification rules state that the athlete who qualifies the boat via the FOQR has to race in that boat if they compete at the Olympics. The problem for the Italians is that one of the crew had moved to the M2- and the pairs and 8’s races are only 30 minutes apart, making it impossible to double up without rescheduling. Fortunately for the Italians, FISA have bent their own rules meaning Italy can bring in some alternate athletes without penalty. So, the crew itself….It’s one of the most experienced crews in the event with 12 Olympic appearance between them. But given the disruption they’ve suffered and the late call up (not to mention the fact they will be using Russia’s boat) anything other than 7th place for the Italians will be a great result.

 

The Netherlands

Netherlands

Kaj Hendriks 28

Olympic record: 5th M4- London

World Championship record: 4th M8 2010, 6th M4- 2011, 1st M4- 2013, 8th M8 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Olivier Siegelaar 29

 

World Championship record: 3rd M8 2009, 4th M8 2010, 6th M8 2011, 4th M4- 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Dirk Uittenbogaard 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 8th M4X 2013, 14th M2X 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Boudewijn Roell 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 5th M8 2013, 8th M8 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Mechiel Versluis 29

Olympic record: 5th M4- London

World Championship record: 11th M4- 2010, 1st M4- 2013, 4th M4- 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Boaz Meylink 32

Olympic record: 5th M4- London

World Championship record: 6th M8 2011, 1st M4- 2013, 4th M4- 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Tone Wieten 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World championship record: 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Robert Luecken 31

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 3rd M8 2009, 11th M4- 2010, 6th M8 2011, 1st M4- 2013, 2nd M4- 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

Peter Wiersum 31

Olympic record: 4th M8 Beijing, 5th M8 London

World Championship record: 1st LM8 2007, 3rd M8 2009, 4th M8 2010, 6th M8 2011, 5th M8 2013, 8th M8 2014, 3rd M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Varese World Cup, 6th M8 European Championships, 1st M8 Lucerne World Cup

The Dutch have shaken up this event this season. For the past 3 years it’s been pretty much a battle between the British and Germans, but in Lucerne they threw a major spanner into the German and British works when they beat the both of them. This was the first victory for the Dutch over the Germans since the Athens Olympics. The basis of this crew has been developing over the past 4-5 years. The heart of the crew is made up of the 2013 World Champion M4-, Robert Luecken, Boaz Meylink, Mechiel Versluis & Kaj Hendriks. Bronze in the M8 at the 2015 Worlds showed that they were ready to challenge for the gold and the manner of their performances so far this season as led many to pick them to win their first gold since 1996 (a crew many people believe is the best technical men’s 8 ever). It remains to be seen if they can carry their performance through the Olympic regatta. They are certainly not invulnerable, they narrowly defeated the Nereus Student 8 at the Amsterdam regatta and then finished 6th at the atrocious conditions at the Europeans. At Henley they produced a good, if not convincing, victory over the GB U23’s. They certainly have the capability of spoiling the British and German party, but ultimately I think the two “super-powers” will just have the edge and the Dutch will take the bronze

 

New Zealand

NZ flag

Michael Brake 21

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 2nd U23 M4+ 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Alex Kennedy 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M4+ 2012, 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Shaun Kirkham 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Isaac Grainger 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Brook Robertson 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Thomas Murray 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Jonathan Wright 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Stephen Jones 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record: 5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

Caleb Shepherd 23 (cox)

Olympic record: 2016 debut

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2013, 1st U23 M8 2013, 2014, 1st M2+ 2014, 4th M8 2015

2016 record:  5th M8 Lucerne World Cup, 3rd M8 Poznan World Cup

The Kiwis haven’t won an Olympic medal in this event since taking bronze in Montreal in 1976. Four years earlier they had won gold with a crew that is still held in awe around the world and is (along with the ’96 Dutch crew) considered one of the finest Olympic men’s 8 in history. The crew for Rio have used that ’72 crew as their inspiration. They are a very young crew, none of them have raced at an Olympics before, and with an average age of just over 22 they are the youngest crew in the competition. But, they are a settled crew that have been rowing together since 2013 and won the U23 World Championships that year, a title they defended the following year. In 2015 they competed at their first senior World Championships finishing just outside of the medals. So far this season they’ve showed good, if not spectacular form, 5th at the Lucerne World Cup was followed by bronze in Poznan (albeit 6 seconds behind the British in silver). They are a dynamic and exciting crew but I’ve a feeling the Olympics have come 2 years too soon for them to make the podium. If they stay together after Rio they could be major players in the Tokyo Olympiad.

 

Poland

poland

Robert Fuchs 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic record

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Marcin Brzezinski 32

Olympic record: 5th M8 Beijing, 7th M8 London

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M4X 2003, 9th M2X 2005, 4th M2X 2006, 12th M2X 2007, 4th M8 2009, 8th M8 2010, 5th M8 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Michal Szpakowski 27

Olympic record: 7th M8 London

World championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2008, 4th M8 2009, 8th M8 2010, 5th M8 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Piotr Juszczak 26

Olympic record: 7th M8 London

World championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2008, 1st U23 M8 2009, 8th M8 2010, 5th M8 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Mateusz Wilangowski 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

 

Zbigniew Schodowski 29

Olympic record: 7th M8 London

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2008, 1st U23 M8 2009, 20th M2- 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Mikolaj Burda 34

Olympic record: 8th M8 Athens, 5th M8 Beijing, 7th M8 London

World Championship record: 12th M8 2001, 11th M8 2002, 8th M8 2003, 5th M8 2005, 6th M8 2006, 5th M8 2007, 4th M8 2009, 8th M8 2010, 5th M8 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Krystian Aranowski 28

Olympic record: 7th M8 London

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2008, 4th M8 2009, 8th M8 2010, 5th M8 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

Daniel Trojanowski 34 (cox)

Olympic record: 8th M8 Athens, 5th M8 Beijing, 7th M8 London

World Championship record: 3rd U23 M8 2001, 11th M8 2002, 8th M8 2003, 5th M8 2005, 6th M8 2006, 5th M8 & 1st M2+ 2007, 4th M8 2009, 8th M8 2010, 5th M8 2011, 4th M8 2013, 3rd M8 2014, 8th M8 2015

2016 record: 3rd M8 Varese World Cup, 5th European Championships, 2nd M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 4th M8 Poznan World Cup

The Poles are probably the most consistent crew in terms of their line-up, 6 of the crew have been rowing together as an 8 since 2010. As a crew they have the capability of making the podium, they won bronze in 2014, but consistency looks to be their issue. In Aiguebelette last year they missed the A-Final which meant they had to race at the Final Qualifying Regatta. They finished runners-up to the USA which meant they secured the final qualifying spot (at least until the Italians were promoted). At the Varese World Cup they won bronze but then at the Europeans they were outside the medals and then in Poznan they again finished out of the medals finishing 4th out of 5 crews. In Rio the battle for the Polish will be to make the A-Final.

 

The United States of America

USA flag

Michael Di Santo 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 14th M2- 2014, 9th M2- 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup.

Sam Dommer 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic record

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

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Alex Karwoski 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 14th M2- 2013, 20th M2X 2014, 7th M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Austin Hack 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2011, 3rd M8 2013, 4th M8 2014, 7th M8 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Robert Munn 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 2nd U23 M8 2010, 2011, 2012, 4th M2+ 2013, 4th M8 2014,

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Stephen Kasprzyk 34

Olympic record: 4th M8 London

World Championship record: 7th M2+ 2007, 9th M8 2009, 3rd M8 2013, 4th M8 2014,

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Hand Struzyna 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 13th M4X 2013, 12th M4X 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Glenn Ochal 30

Olympic record: Bronze M4- London

World Championship record: 12th M4X 2009, 7th M2X 2010, 8th M4X 2011, 6th M2- 2014, 7th M4- 2015

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

Sam Ojserkis 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 1st U23 M8 2012,

2016 record: 1st M8 Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 3rd M8 Lucerne World Cup

The Americans love the 8, in their domestic collegiate rowing programmes no other boat matters, and that attitude continues, at least in the eyes of the public, into the national team. Whilst the US women totally dominate their eights event the men aren’t so lucky. They certainly have a strong history, they last won the title in Athens in 2004. At the World Championships in the late 1990’s the US dominated the event, winning in 1997, 98 & 99. But since the turn of the century they’ve only won the World Championships once, and that was back in 2005. Indeed, since 2005 the Americans have only won two World Championship medals, both bronzes in 2006 and 2013. The crew for Rio have had a fight on their hands just to qualify. After finishing outside of the A-final in Aiguebelette they had to race at the Final Olympic Qualifying regatta, if they had failed it would’ve been the first time since 1976 that their hadn’t been a US M8 at the Olympic Games. But, they treated the FOQR as their Olympic final and won their place at Rio. They followed this up a few days later with Bronze at the Lucerne World Cup, leading to halfway before backing off, it’s difficult to know how much to read into this result as they had peaked specifically for that week. Rio will be a very different matter. They are a fairly young and inexperienced crew, only two of them have any Olympic experience. There are high hopes that this crew can deliver a major medal for the US men, but I’m not convinced. When it comes to the Olympic final I don’t think they will have the experience or firepower to challenge for the medals.

 

So that’s it, the fight for gold is going to come down to a three-way fight between the defending Olympic Champions from Germany, the defending World Champions from Great Britain and the in-form Dutch. There’s something about the British crew that makes me think it’s going to be their year. GB for the gold ahead of Germany and The Netherlands.

 

Apologies to anyone who was looking forward to the previews of the Lightweight events, time is not on my side and unfortunately I’m not going to be able to get the write-ups done in time. Now, to sit back and watch the racing. I can’t wait!!

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