View of the course during the 2010 Rowing World Championships at Lake Karapiro, New Zealand.
With over 67,000 spectators watching the event during the week, the overriding comment from the athletes was hearing the loud and enthusiastic crowd support. Some athletes said they could hear the crowd while sitting in the starting blocks, 2km away from where the spectators sat near the finish.

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The spectators included a who’s who of New Zealand rowing many still involved in the event. Two-time Olympic Champion Caroline Evers-Swindell, now a florist, designed the bouquets given to all medallists. Rob and Sonia Waddell watched the racing from the shores of Lake Karapiro and New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key stayed for the final day.

Great Britain finished at the top of the medals table after winning a total of 11 medals, five of them gold. This rounds off a marvellous season for Great Britain which saw them winning the Rowing World Cup series by a staggering margin. Germany came in second in the medals table with nine medals, five of them were gold.  New Zealand finished in third winning three gold medals and a total of 10 medals. Fourth was France with a total of six medals, half of them were gold and Canada finished fifth. The medal count is done across all sports including the adaptive events and the international (non-Olympic) events.

Behind the scenes and making these championships work, were 500-plus volunteers, a number of paid staff as well many officials, umpires, commentators, media and FISA staff some of whom have many years of World Championship events behind them.  World Rowing talked to a small sampling of these people and asked them what their favourite race was and their impressions of the championships.

Peter Spurrier, rowing photographer (GBR), “My impression? Fabulous, just this one word sums it up. The wind tried to change that but didn’t succeed. My favourite race was the lightweight men’s four because Great Britain won, and the men’s single. I’ve been coming to the World Champs ever since 1985 and have only missed three of them since.”

Pat Lambert, FISA commission member and medals ceremony announcer (BEL), “I had goose bumps, really big ones. I had to settle myself before doing the medal ceremony as the atmosphere was incredible.”

School kids supporting the British team at the 2010 Rowing World Championships at Lake Karapiro, New Zealand. MyRowingPhoto.com

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 Oliver Bettzieche, Volunteer in the information centre, (GER), “It was extremely well organised and there were extremely friendly people. I’ve been here two and a half weeks and will now have to go straight back to Germany for my job. My favourite race was the men’s eight. I was so happy for the Germans. I snuck into the boat park and got a picture.”

Svetla Otzetova, FISA events director and a rower for Bulgaria at Karapiro in 1978 (BUL), “It’s a great atmosphere. If I make a comparison with 1978 and now, the reaction of the people was very similar. The volunteer’s enthusiasm made it and with that is that they enjoyed what they were doing. My favourite race was the men’s pair, because of the closeness and the competition. While that race was happening I felt my pulse and it would have been as high as if I was sitting in a boat myself.”

Robert Treharne Jones, FISA commentator (GBR). Of the 161 races at the championships, Jones commentated 88 of them, “by far my favourite race was the men’s pair. It was an awesome race and it was all that it was billed to be and more. Although it was a six boat final it was really one on one between New Zealand and Great Britain and to have them so close all the way. The crowd were literally on their feet. The event was great from every point of view. I can’t fault it. The organisers worked very hard to get everything right.”

Brian Kelly, Radio Sport commentator (NZL) at the end of the men’s double sculls (won by New Zealand’s Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen), “Forget about the All Blacks, they are World Champions!”