The German sculler Oliver Zeidler had the fastest qualifying time from the semifinals and he sat in the middle lane next door to the most experienced sculler of this fleet – the Olympic medallist and multiple World Champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic. At the start it was World Cup winner Sverri Nielsen of Denmark in the lead. Nielsen went out at a 52 stroke rate as was moving just ahead of Zeldler. Then Zeidler took the lead. Zeidler only started in the single last year and was a finalist at the 2018 World Rowing Championships. The reigning World Champion, Kjetil Borch of Norway was in third.

Through the half way point it all changed. Stef Broenink of the Netherlands had taken the lead, but only just over Nielsen and Zeidler. It looked like the third 500 may be the race decider. But then the final sprint began and Borch had moved into second and was chasing down Broenink. The sprint was on. Oh gosh! Zeidler was at 43, Borch at 42, Nielsen at 43 and Broenink at 48. It was a five-way finish and impossible to pick. Zeidler had won, Nielen took second and Borch was in third. Just one second separated the top five boats.


Oliver Zeidler, Germany, Gold
“That was a tough race, but I am very excited by this result! I saw Sverri go out in front, and I went for it.”

Sverri Nielsen, Denmark, Silver
“Really a good race, and also a really close race, I felt Stef on one side and Oliver on another side, then I just focus on my boat through the end of my last 20 strokes. Everybody fight for the medals, I am really happy that I could get a medal.”

Kjetil Borch, Norway, Bronze
“That was a really tough race but it was cool to be battling every 500 meters. It came down to mental strength and I love that. I’m happy with my performance.” 

Re-watch the race here