France lines up elite rowers for Beijing
The French Rowing Federation has announced its final list of Beijing-bound rowers: 21 rowers in eight qualified boats.
Sophie Balmary will be racing at her third Olympic Games in the women’s single. Although a regular finalist over the past Olympic cycle, the indoor rowing world record holder has failed to make it past the B Final this season.
Adrien Hardy, reigning Olympic champion in the men’s double, will be racing with new partner Jean-Baptiste Macquet. The crew set a World Best Time at the 2006 Rowing World Cup in Poznan, Poland, and became World Champions that same year. World silver medallists in 2007, the crew will be aiming to improve on the results they recorded during the 2008 Rowing World Cup series and aim for a medal spot in Beijing.
It took until the final result of the Rowing World Cup in Poznan, Poland, for the Olympic line-up of the men’s quad to be decided. Although in the boat since 2005, Olympian Jean-David Bernard’s seat was on the line. In and out of the crew this season, Bernard was replaced again after the quad missed out on the podium in Lucerne. In Poznan, the crew of Cédric Berrest, Julien Bahain, Pierre-Jean Peltier and Jonathan Coeffic beat three-time World Champions Poland and earned silver behind Italy. They will be hot Olympic medal contenders.
Frederic Dufour, 2004 Olympic silver medallist and 2006 world bronze medallist in the lightweight men’s double, teamed up with world under-23 champion Maxime Goisset this year at the start of the season. After beating France’s number one lightweight double in Munich and winning silver, the duo became the priority combination in Lucerne where they won bronze.
The women’s pair were France’s last crew to qualify for the Beijing Games. They did so last week at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Poznan, Poland. The young combination of Stéphanie Dechand and Inène Pascal also made it through to the A Final at this year’s Rowing World Cup in Lucerne.
Laurent Cadot and Erwan Peron have been together in the men’s pair since 2007. They are consistent A finalists in this event and have medalled regularly at World Cup level. It will be Cadot’s second Olympics and Peron’s first.
The French men’s four of Dorian Mortelette, Germain Chardin, Benjamin Rondeau and Julien Desprès have been rowing together since 2006 and have been consistent finalists. Beijing will be their first Olympic Games.
Included in the lightweight men’s four is 2000 Olympic champion Jean-Christophe Bette. The crew have been together since 2005 and have won a World Championship title and two world silver medals. The crew sees one change this season and for the Olympic Games: Jeremy Pouge has been replaced with Guillaume Raineau. They have been one of the top crews during the 2008 Rowing World Cup season and will be fighting for the Olympic title in Beijing.