Now that the dust has well and truly settled after an enthralling Olympic Games, I thought it was time to have a look back and review the Olympic regatta (and see how my predictions panned out).
The Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas certainly made life interesting, when the wind blew it resembled something out of “The Perfect Storm” and claimed more than one victim.
But, when the weather gods played nice it was a truly stunning venue to hold a regatta. Overall I think the racing was very fair and by the time the finals came around the conditions weren’t a factor.
Dissatisfaction with outcomes
Overall I don’t think any of the major rowing nations can come away from the Olympics fully satisfied. Great Britain may have finished top of the medal table with 3 golds and 2 silvers but this was one short of the minimum 6 medals that was their target. Sir David Tanner may have avoided some awkward conversations thanks to the quality, rather than quantity of his charges haul. UK Sport have already said there will be no “knee-jerk reaction” to getting 5 instead of 6 medals. It could well be that the unexpected silver medal won by Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley may have just secured the future funding of the British Rowing Team. But, this success can’t hide the more disappointing aspects of the British performances. The Lightweight team in particular had a very disappointing regatta. For the first time since the Athens Olympics none of the GB lightweights made the A-final. The M4X were unlucky to miss out on the medals having had to make a late crew change and the M2- may also be a little disappointed to miss the medals.
But, it wasn’t just the British who didn’t quite deliver as expected. The other rowing “super-power”, New Zealand also a somewhat mixed regatta. The M2- maintained their unbeaten run and Mahe Drysdale was involved in one of the best M1X races in the history of the Olympics. The Women’s pair also delivered a strong silver. But, as with the British there were some crews who didn’t quite hit the mark when it mattered. The W2x World Champions have looked out of sorts all season and Emma Twigg’s showdown with Kim Brennan never really materialised. Neither the World Champion LW2X nor the LM4- were in the hunt for the medals and the W8, strongly tipped to challenge for silver, also missed out. Questions are already being asked in the New Zealand media about the relative under-performance from their best funded Olympic sport.
The Germans successes in the men’s women’s Quads will be some consolation to the men’s 8 losing to GB (again), but beyond that no other German crew reached the A-Final. The Americans took an expected gold in the W8 and Gevvie Stone took a brilliant silver in the W1X, but the much-vaunted W2- missed the medals and only one men’s heavyweight boat reached the final. The US’s no.1 men’s boat, the M4- were well off the pace in the semi-final finishing 8 seconds behind the winner.