The women’s pair was included in the Olympic programme at the first Games in which women’s rowing was featured – the 1976 Olympics. Of these past ten Olympic rowing regattas, Romania has secured medals at five of them. It has always been gold and the name Andrunache has featured prominently.

Romanian rower Georgeta Andrunache is one of the most medalled Olympic rowers of all time. She has won the same number of Olympic medals as Great Britain's Steve Redgrave (five gold medals and one bronze) and sits in second position behind compatriot Elisabeta Lipa on the list of all-time top Olympic female rowers. Andrunache is inextricably linked to the history of the women’s pair in Olympic rowing.

While Redgrave assembled his Olympic collection at five Olympic Games in four different boat classes, Andrunache won her six Olympic medals at just three Olympic Regattas in two boat classes: the pair and the eight. She is the only rowing athlete, male or female, to ever have won two Olympic gold medals at a single Olympic Rowing Regatta at two consecutive Olympic Games.  Andrunache accomplished this feat at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

At the Beijing Games in 2008, Andrunache scored yet another astonishing accomplishment, that of claiming her third consecutive Olympic title in the pair. She won a second medal at those Games as well - bronze in the eight. Andrunache’s crewmates included other female rowing greats such as Viorica Susanu, with whom she won two Olympic golds in the pair and also in the eight. And Doina Ignat, with whom she claimed her first Olympic title in the pair.

London 2012 saw Andrunache’s fourth and final Olympic participation in the pair. This time, however, it was Great Britain dominating.

Great Britain's Helen Glover and Heather Stanning have remained unbeatable ever since becoming Olympic Champions in front of their home crowd at the London Olympics. Their gold was also the first Olympic gold in women's rowing for Great Britain.

After London, Stanning took a year out from rowing and Glover, with new partner Polly Swann, won gold at the 2013 World Rowing Championships. The next year Glover and Stanning were back together and set a new World Best Time in the final of the World Rowing Championships, breaking the previous Romanian World Best Time that had stood for 12 years.

The potential for the British duo to win their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the women’s pair at Rio 2016 is highly likely as often Glover and Stanning have embedded a race plan that has them leading for the entire race and winning by handy margins. Such a result would place Great Britain in second position on the all-time Olympic medals table for the women’s pair with a total of three medals, two of them gold.

 

ALL-TIME DREAM CREW IN THE WOMEN'S PAIR

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 women's pair ever.

Stroke: Tricia Smith (CAN)
Tricia Smith’s remarkable rowing career lasted from 1976 until 1987. The Canadian never won a world title but in her pair with Betsy Craig, she came so close to breaking the seemingly all-powerful Eastern bloc domination of women’s rowing . Smith won both silver and bronze medals. This was an outstanding result. As such, Smith was a trail-blazer for later generations, prepared to take on seemingly unbeatable crews. Smith also anchored the Canadian women’s eight to win medals at World Championships.

Bow: Georgeta Andrunache (nee Damian)
Plucked out of her Romanian school by a talent scout, Andrunache quickly became a standout performer in the powerful Romanian women’s team that dominated women’s sweep rowing between 1996 and 2008. She won three consecutive Olympic pairs titles (with Doina Ignat and Viorica Susanu) between 2000 and 2008. On top of those, the 1.78m tall Botansani rower frequently doubled up at both world championships and Olympic Games. Her efforts in Sydney and Athens won her a further two Olympic eights titles. 

 

STATISTICS AND LINKS

Videos

Olympic Games – London 2012

World Rowing Championships – Aiguebelette 2015

World Rowing Championships – Amsterdam 2014

World Rowing Championships – Chungju 2013

 

 

Olympic Qualification (as of 3 May 2016)

No.

Olympic Qualification Regatta

W2- (15)

1

WCH 1

GBR

2

WCH 2

NZL

3

WCH 3

USA

4

WCH 4

DEN

5

WCH 5

RSA

6

WCH 6

CAN

7

WCH 7

ROU

8

WCH 8

GER

9

WCH 9

NED

10

WCH 10

FRA

11

WCH 11

BLR

12

FOQR

ESP

13

FOQR

CHN

14

FOQR

ITA

15

FOQR

POL

 

World Best Times – Historical Evolution

Time Boat Competition 

 

6:50.61

GBR

2014 World Rowing Championships (A-final)

6:53.80

ROM

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

6:57.42

CAN

1991 World Rowing Championships - Neue Donau/Vienna, Austria (A-final)

 

Olympic Best Times – Historical Evolution

Time Boat Competition

 

06:57.3

GBR

2012 Olympic Games - Dorney Lake Eton/London, Great Britain (Heat 1)

07:01.4

AUS

1996 Olympic Games - Atlanta, United States (A-final)

07:06.2

CAN

1992 Olympic Games - Estany Banyoles/Barcelona, Spain (A-final)