Bumper Olympic collection at Head of the Charles
19/10/2012 - 13:53:00
A sizzling international billing is about to race at the 48th Head of the Charles as a whole bunch of London Olympians descend on Boston, United States.
The stand-out race could be the women’s championship eight as a group of cross-nation, top scullers are joining together. Organised by the USA’s top female single sculler Genevra Stone, who is from Boston, the eight includes double Olympic medallist Kim Crow (AUS), women’s single Olympic Champion Mirka Knapkova (CZE), women’s single Olympic silver medallist Fie Erichsen (DEN), Olympic bronze medallist in the women’s double Julia Michalska (POL), women’s single Olympian Donata Vistartaite (LTU), Olympic silver medallist in the quad Annekatrin Thiele (GER) and Olympic Champion in the double Anna Watkins (GBR).
Rowing as Cambridge Boat Club this ‘Great 8 will be up against Olympic silver medallists from the eight, Canada. The Olympic Champion women’s eight, the United States has five of their London gold medal rowers combining with the US bronze medal quad to be the US crew. Double Olympic Champion coxswain, Mary Whipple will be steering the course. But the field of talent does not end there. The Olympic bronze medal Dutch eight is racing in-tact and a London Rowing Club eight includes four women from the British eight as well as Olympic Champion from the pair, Helen Glover, Olympic Champion from the lightweight double, Sophie Hosking and New Zealand bronze medallists from the pair, Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown.
The men’s championship eight has a Great 8 of top male scullers entered including five of the six London Olympic finalists from the men’s single. This concept of putting together a boat of the top single scullers originated from British coach Bill Barry in 2009. When they raced the Head of the Charles that year they won.
Barry has again brought together the best of the world’s scullers to race under the name Tideway Scullers. Olympic gold and bronze medallists from the men’s single, Mahe Drysdale (NZL) and Alan Campbell (GBR) are in the boat. Olympic men’s single finalists, Lassi Karonen (SWE), Marcel Hacker (GER) and Aleksandar Aleksandrov (AZE) will be in the boat along with Olympic silver medallist from the double, Iztok Cop (SLO), 2004 and 2008 Olympic Champion in the single Olaf Tufte (NOR) and Glenn Ochal (USA) from the bronze medal men’s four.
Ochal will also row with Hacker in the men’s championship double which is loaded with international talent. Campbell and Aleksandrov are paired up and have recently been doing some training and racing together. Old friends Cop and Tufte will race together. Over the years Cop and Tufte have trained in singles with each other and in 2010 they raced a double together at the World Rowing Cup in Bled. Defending Head of the Charles champions from 2011, Peter and Tom Graves (USA) will also be racing.
The women’s championship single has a number of athletes from the Great 8. Stone is the defending champion in this event and as the Charles is her training ground she knows the course extremely well. Stone will face Knapkova and Crow. Also lining up is former Head of the Charles winner, Ursula Grobler (USA) and Olympic bronze medallist from the quad, Kathleen Bertko (USA).
Two scullers from the men’s Great 8 will race in the men’s championship single. Drysdale is a regular contestant at the Head of the Charles and he will wear the number one as he won this event at last year’s Head of the Charles. Karonen will also front up for his first time racing the single at the Head of the Charles. Other London Olympians include Norway’s double sculler, Kjetil Borch, James Chapman (AUS) who took silver in the men’s four and Olympic quad sculler, Charles Cousins (GBR). Number two from last year’s Head of the Charles, Michael Sivigny (USA) is back again.
More than 9,000 rowers will race at the Head of the Charles. It is one of the main events on the United States rowing calendar, especially for university crews who come from across the country to compete. There are also club events, masters’ events and adaptive rowing events.
Up to 300,000 spectators are expected to watch over the two day event with the spectators able to line the 4800m course along the winding Charles River.
For more information: http://hocr.org/