These boats jumped out rating in the 50s to try and get the fastest start. Italy, holding 44, got a slight edge. Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta of Italy finished first at World Rowing Cup II and they were still in front moving through the 750m point. The closest challengers were the two Rio Olympic medal crews of Norway and Ireland. Norway took bronze in Rio and they are back together for 2018 after taking a year out from double sculling. The very popular Irish crew of Paul and Gary O’Donovan were silver medallists in Rio giving Ireland their first Olympic rowing medal.

At the half way point Norway’s Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli had pushed into the lead and took a very small margin over Italy and Ireland. The rest of the field, however, was still within striking distance and there was still 1000m left to row. Coming through to the final sprint Ruta and Oppo went. The O’Donovan’s were ready and so were the Norwegians. Brun and strandli went to 37, the O’Donovan’s went to 39, then 44. It was close. Brun and Strandli looked the strongest and left Italy and Ireland to fight for silver.


Kristoffer Brun (b), Norway, gold
“Feels so great. The atmosphere at these games has been amazing. Everyone is so happy and friendly. The race was really good, we were really hoping for gold.”

Gary O'Donovan (b), Ireland, silver
“A little disappointed with silver but Norway were very strong. It was a tough race in general but we gave everything we had. We were in touching distance throughout the race and managed to gain a lot in the middle. Fair play to Norway, they were stronger and fitter than us in the end.” 

Pietro Ruta (s), Italy, bronze
“It was a good race but we struggled with the wind in the middle. We’ll go to our training camp and work together Plovdiv.

​Re-watch the race here 



The British crew missed out on making the a-final by just 0.22 of a second from yesterday’s semifinal and they looked to be the crew to beat today. It was tightly packed coming through the first 500 with Slovakia, France and Great Britain leading the pack by just a fraction. The World, European and Olympic Champions, France then got into the lead. There is one change in the French boat since the Jeremie Azou days with Pierre Houin now rowing with Thomas Baroukh. Great Britain came charging into the final sprint forcing France to go to 40 then 43. The French held them off.


​Re-watch the race here