The Russian Rowers at the Olympics

A guest post by Craig Allely

Recent Russian Rowing Results

The Russians have a great legacy in rowing both at World Championships and Olympics since the Second World War and up to the 1980s.  But in recent years performances have fallen back, the sole medal successes from 1992 Olympics to 2012 were 1996 Mens Eight bronze, in 2000 Womens quad bronze and 2004 Mens quad gold

In recent years that is 2004 onwards there have been no notable successes as far as I know at Olympic and World Championships.

Recently Mike Spracklen was appointed to steer the Russian International Rowers towards better performances. A marked improvement has taken place recently under his leadership.  It has been recorded that on his arrival he only had a small number of out of shape and suspicious rowers, obviously he has improved morale as recent results had qualified a number of crews for the Olympics and great hope existed for the future.

Now some questions can be posed for that future, given the state of World Rowing where National Crews are frequently coached by outsiders, who is going to take it on after Mike Spracklen, given that his efforts at this Olympics have been decimated by FISA having to take action on doping?

A question that I ask is why do some Russians continue to take banned substances when clearly in recent years the performances  (2004 to 2012) were so far in arrears that drugs would not make any difference?  Rowing is an endurance sport and the big factor is lots of endurance training and drugs don’t make you a champion, only you efforts will.

The great thing about the Russians is that they achieved great results inspite of the Russian Winter, remember it stopped Napoleon and Hitler….

I don’t think any one knows what goes on in Russia, there are stories of polluted drug testing facilities, cover ups for failed drug tests etc.

Veniamin But the Russian Rowing Federation President had enough nouce to appoint a top coach, but it seems he has more work to do.

If Mike Spracklen does not continue what happens to the Russians, do they sink back into the abyss of C,D E finals to have their places taken by qualifiers from other countries?

I will miss the Russians at this year’s Olympics and the Russians will miss being there, it was a chance for them to show what they can do.

Success breeds success

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