You will also find Martin Cross’s pick of the rowers that make up his all-time dream crew in this event.

As with its female equivalent boat class, the lightweight men’s double sculls first featured on the Olympic programme in 1996. In the five Olympic Games in which this boat class has featured so far, ten nations have claimed medals.

Poland’s Tomasz Kucharski and Robert Sycz are the top names in this event. They won gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and again in Athens, four years later. The two lightweight scullers also tie in 31st position on the list of all-time top Olympic male rowers.

In second place, Great Britain follows Poland in the all-time Olympic rankings, with one gold medal from Beijing 2008 and one silver from London 2012, both claimed by Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter. Denmark, currently ranked third overall, has two Olympic medals, with Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist winning bronze in Beijing 2008 and the Olympic title in 2012.

In the past Olympic cycle, no one nation has fully claimed ownership of this boat class: a different crew has claimed the World Championship title each year. Norway has been scoring the most consistent results with Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli not missing a single podium. In 2013 the Norwegians became World Champions and then took world bronze medals the two following years. If Norway medals in Rio, it will be the first for their country in this boat class at the Olympic level.

France has been on the rise in the past few years. Jeremie Azou has not lost a single race since the beginning of the 2015 season, claiming the World Championship title in the process. In 2016 he was joined by a new partner, Pierre Houin, and together they have continued to dominate the field.  While France already has two Olympic medals in the lightweight men’s double, from 2000 and 2004, the nation has yet to claim the gold.

South Africa is the nation that currently holds the World Best Time, having secured it at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in the final just a few days after it had been re-set by France in the heats. The previous time set by Denmark had stood for seven years. The standard is now 6:05.36. The 2014 World Champions John Smith and James Thompson of South Africa medalled twice during this year’s World Rowing Cup season and will be looking to repeat the historic result they scored for South Africa at London 2012 in another boat class, the lightweight men’s four, when they won gold.

All-time dream crew in the lightweight men’s double sculls

By Martin Cross

Using more than a century of modern rowing, Martin Cross looks at the sport’s legendary performers and plays selector. This is his pick of the best lightweight men’s double sculls crew ever.

Stroke: Peter Antonie (AUS)
Peter Antonie’s amazing record - both in lightweight and open-weight competitions - make him a natural choice to stroke this boat. He made his mark on lightweight rowing by winning the singles title in 1986 on the last stroke in a duel with the then World Champion Bjarn Eltang from Denmark. In 1991, the diminutive Aussie came fourth in the open-weight singles behind Germany's Thomas Lange. The next year, he teamed up with Peter Hawkins to record a sensational win in the Olympic doubles.

Bow: Ned Hanlan (CAN)
At only 68kg, Ned Hanlan would make an ideal partner for Antonie. The legendary Canadian was the five-time world professional singles champion from 1880 to 1884. Though only 170cm tall, Hanlan won 294 out of his 300 races. Hanlan was noted for the effectiveness of his technique over his rivals. He also won world titles in the double sculls – a result that ensured his seat in this boat.

Stats & links

Videos

Olympic Games – London 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyW3CC-EP3w

World Rowing Championships – Aiguebelette 2015 http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#dm9kOzE5OA

World Rowing Championships – Amsterdam 2014 http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#dm9kOzY4Nw

World Rowing Championships – Chungju 2013 http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#dm9kOzEwMjk

World Best Times – Historical Evolution (LM2x)

Time

Country

Competition

6:05.36

RSA

2014 World Rowing Championships (Final A)

6:08.64

FRA

2014 World Rowing Championships (Heat 1)

6:10.02

DEN

2007 World Rowing Cup II - Bosbaan/Amsterdam, Netherlands (Semifinal)

6:10.80

ITA

2002 World Rowing Championships - Guadalquivir/Seville, Spain (Final A)

6:14.57

POL

1997 World Rowing Championships - Lac/Aiguebelette, France (Final A)

 

Olympic Best Times – Historical Evolution (LM2x)

Time

Boat

Country

Competition

06:11.0

GBR

Great Britain

2008 Olympic Games - Shunyi/Beijing, China (Final A)

06:13.7

GBR

Great Britain

2008 Olympic Games - Shunyi/Beijing, China (Heat 1)

06:14.6

FRA

France

2004 Olympic Games - Schinias/Athens, Greece (Heat 2)

06:20.6

POL

Poland

2000 Olympic Games - Penrith/Sydney, Australia (Semifinal)

 

Olympic Qualification

No.

Olympic Qualification Regatta

LM2x (20)

1

WCH 1

FRA

2

WCH 2

GBR

3

WCH 3

NOR

4

WCH 4

RSA

5

WCH 5

ITA

6

WCH 6

GER

7

WCH 7

POL

8

WCH 8

USA

9

WCH 9

AUT

10

WCH 10

SUI

11

WCH 11

IRL

12

Euro CQR 1

BEL

13

Euro CQR 2

TUR

14

African CQR 1

ANG

15

Asian/Ocea CQR 1

CHN

16

Asian/Ocea CQR 2

JPN

17

Asian/Ocea CQR 3

HKG

18

Americas CQR 1

BRA

19

Americas CQR 2

CUB

20

Americas CQR 3

CHI