Olympic Liveblog Semi Final M1x

Semi Final 1: Norway, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Cuba, Lithuania.   Six big men race off the start tine all determined to finish in the top three and qualify for the finals.  Lithuania and New Zealand move off early chased by Sweden and Germany.  But as they approach 500m the class starts to show and Sweden and New Zealand move out to three quarters of a length over Lithuania.  Karonen of Sweden is the first through the marker half a length up on Drysdale of New Zealand.  Lithuania third and Germany fourth.  Looks like Olaf Tufte defending title holder may be in the B final – he’s well back.   Karonen gets himself 2/3 length lead over Drysdale – both men supremely focused on the job in hand and the rest of the field are out of contention for the leading slots as there’s nearly two boat lengths back to Marcel Hacker in third, Cuba fourth.  Drysdale starts to press back and closes to half a length  rating slightly higher than Karonen – his jaw juts out and he determinedly presses more energy into each stroke to pull up closer to the Swede. Karonen is pushed back to half a length at 1500 meters with Germany 4 seconds behind.  Quality will out and Drysdale shows that he’s peaking and ready to take on the world in this regatta.   Last 300m and Drysdale is nearly a length in front – he has no need to sprint as Karonen is behind and a qualifying spot to the final is assured.  New Zealand 2/3 length over Sweden and Germany third a length behind.

Semi Final 2: China, Argentina, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Belgium, Azerbaijan.  Synek of Czech Republic sneaks a quick look at Campbell off the start as he jumps out of the start to a lead of 2/3 length.  Alan really likes to lead from the front.   Synek second at 500m by 3/4 length.  Azerbaijan in the outside lane in third place coming into the middle thousand and Tim Maeyens of Belgium fourth place in lane 1.  Synek lets Campbell set the pace and he is sculling very well slightly higher rating.  Synek closes to 2/3 length at half way but Campbell seems unconcerned.  Now back to half a length and Synek works hard to close the gap and succeeds stroke by stroke each man rating identically.  Campbell slips his slide a bit and the commentator says “it’s gladiators out there”.   Coming to 1500m Synek has a couple of feet lead and these two are so far ahead of the rest that the camera doesn’t show who’s in third. Synek looks across at Campbell to confirm his half length lead.  Campbell lets him go for now but Synek keeps going and is now a length and clear water ahead.  Has the fight gone out of the dog? Both men paddle home at 28 Czech Republic first, Great Britain second and Azerbaijan third.  Germany, Belgium and Norway are in the B final.

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