World Rowing continues its Olympic countdown series, highlighting the most remarkable Olympic accomplishments in each of the 14 Olympic boat classes. Today, we look at the women’s double sculls in all of its glory and Olympic medallists and World Rowing commentator Martin Cross reveals his all time dream crew in this boat class.

There are a number of stand-out moments in the women's double and one came at the Beijing 2008 Olympics when three boats crossed the finish line in a photo finish separated by just 0.23 of a second. All three boats - Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand - sat on the finish line waiting to hear the outcome. By a whisker, New Zealand's identical twins, Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell had won. Not only did this give the Evers-Swindells an Olympic gold medal, they also became the only rowers to have won the women's double twice in a row. The New Zealand duo had successfully defended their Athens 2004 Olympic title.

New Zealand's rise in this boat class came in the early 2000s when the Evers-Swindell twins began racing consistently in the double. This earned them a World Championship title in both 2002 and 2003 and again in 2005.

Meanwhile the British were coming up through the ranks. Elise Laverick was part of the boat that took bronze at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. Then in 2010 Olympic medallist Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins joined together. Watkins had taken bronze with Laverick in Beijing and now with Grainger the duo formed a partnership that was unbeatable. From 2010 through to winning the London 2012 Olympic Games, Grainger and Watkins did not lose a race. Gold in London earned Grainger her fourth Olympic medal and her first Olympic gold.

Grainger took a break after the London Olympics then came back to rowing in 2015 in time to help qualify the double for Rio. Teamed up with Victoria Thornley, the duo has had an inconsistent 2016 season, but they have high expectations for the coming Olympics.

For Rio, New Zealand is back in the picture. They are the 2014 and 2015 World Champions with Zoe Stevenson and Eve MacFarlane in the boat this year. The duo, however, have been beaten this season with the stand-out crews leading into Rio looking to be Poland, Lithuania and Australia. Germany and Belarus are also showing good form. Rio will not be a clear-cut decision.

Going back to early Olympic racing, Romania was the mainstay of medal winning. This came along with the great Elisabeta Lipa earning  three Olympic medals in the double. Lipa was first at the 1984 Olympics, second in Seoul in 1988 and second again in Barcelona in 1992. Lipa sits at the top all time women Olympic medallists.

In position number four on the all-time Olympic medallist list is Germany's Kathrin Boron. Boron won gold in the double at both the 1992 and 2000 Olympic Games. As a rower she was the linchpin of the German women's sculling squad for nearly two decades. Boron also won Olympic medals in the women's quadruple sculls. Germany tops the all-time Olympic medals table in this event so far, having medalled at four Games between 1992 and 2008.

All-time dream crew in the women’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.

Georgina Evers-Swindell NZL (stroke)
Caroline Evers-Swindell NZL (bow)

For almost eight years, the kiwi twins dominated their event. Their first Olympic gold in Athens was expected. But their second in Beijing, ahead of the German and British doubles, was won on the final stroke of the race. It was a result that epitomized the incredible fighting qualities of these women from New Zealand’s North Island. In their final race before Beijing, the twins had failed even to make the final. Their ability to dig deep made them powerful role models for a generation of oarswomen. It would be a brave person to split them, or leave them out of this category.

 Stats & links

Videos

Olympic Games – London 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO34vlP6vqQ

World Rowing Championships – Aiguebelette 2015 http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#dm9kOzE5NQ

World Rowing Championships – Amsterdam 2014 http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#dm9kOzY0Mg

World Rowing Championships – Chungju 2013 http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#dm9kOzk4NA

World Best Time - W2x

Time

Boat

Competition

6:37.26

AUS

2015 World Rowing Championships, Amsterdam, NED, Sally Kehoe & Olympia Aldesey

 

Olympic Best Time - W2x

Time

Boat

Competition

06:44.33

GBR

2012 Olympic Games - London, Great Britain, Katherine Grainger & Anna Watkins

Olympic Qualification

No.

Olympic Qualification Regatta

W2x (13)

1

WCH 1

NZL

2

WCH 2

GRE

3

WCH 3

GER

4

WCH 4

POL

5

WCH 5

LTU

6

WCH 6

GBR

7

WCH 7

CHN

8

WCH 8

FRA

9

WCH 9

BLR

10

WCH 10

AUS

11

WCH 11

USA

12

Final OQR 1

CZE

13

Final OQR 2

DEN