To date, only one female sculler has won two Olympic gold medals in the women’s single: Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus. The Belarusian became an Olympic Champion at Atlanta 1996 and repeated her performance at Sydney 2000. A further two Olympic medals won in 2004 (silver) and 2008 (bronze) make her the most medalled Olympic female single sculler overall.

Ekaterina Karsten (BLR) © FISA

Now at 44 years of age, Karsten is still pursuing her career in the single. In Rio 2016 she will mark an exceptional seventh Olympic participation - six of them in the single.

Karsten’s primary rival, Rumyana Neykova of Bulgaria, is the second most medalled female sculler in the single at the Olympic level. Neykova won the Olympic title in 2008, preceded by Olympic silver in 2000 and bronze in 2004. The World Best Time that she set at the 2002 World Rowing Championships still stands today: 7:07.71.

In the lead up to Rio, the leaders in the field have changed. Australia’s Kim Brennan (nee Crow) has not missed a podium since winning Olympic bronze at London 2012. Brennan claimed World Championship gold twice in this Olympic cycle - in 2013 and last year in 2015. Her bronze medal in London was the first Olympic medal ever won for Australia in this boat class.

New Zealand’s Emma Twigg has been on the rise since 2010, the year in which she won her first World Championship medal. After winning the world title in 2014, she took a break from international rowing and has now returned to competition in preparation for Rio. She will be aiming to win New Zealand’s first ever Olympic medal in this event.

The reigning Olympic Champion Mirka Knapkova from the Czech Republic did not win a World Championship in this Olympic cycle, but has remained a regular medal contender. She is quite possibly keeping her best in store for Rio in the hope of adding a second medal to the Czech Republic’s Olympic medal standing in this event.

All-time dream crew in the women’s single 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.

Elisabeta Lipa (ROU)
It’s no surprise that the world’s most successful ever-female rower would be guaranteed an automatic seat in this team. The Romanian’s Olympic medal count standing at five gold, two silver and one bronze medal – spread out over four different boat classes and over a remarkable six Olympics may never be bettered. But of all those medals, it was her 1992 singles victory over Belgium's Annalise Bredal and Canada's Silken Laumann that will stand out.

Videos & Statistics

London 2012 Olympic Games 

2015 World Rowing Championships 

2014 World Rowing Championships 

2013 World Rowing Championships 

 

World Best Times – Historical Evolution (W1x)

Time

Boat

Competition

7:07.71

BUL

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

7:11.68

BLR

1999 World Rowing Championships - Henley/St. Catharines, Canada (Final A)

7:17.09

CAN

1994 World Rowing Cup IV - Rotsee/Lucerne, Switzerland (Final A)

7:17.60

BEL

1994 World Rowing Cup II - Vaires sur Marne/Paris, France (Final A)

 

Olympic Best Times – Historical Evolution (W1x)

Time

Boat

Competition

07:18.1

GER

2004 Olympic Games - Schinias/Athens, Greece (Final A)

07:25.2

CZE

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

07:25.5

ROU

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

 

Olympic Qualification

No.

Olympic Qualification Regatta

W1x (29)

1

WCH 1

AUS

2

WCH 2

CZE

3

WCH 3

CHN

4

WCH 4

USA

5

WCH 5

SUI

6

WCH 6

CAN

7

WCH 7

SWE

8

WCH 8

LTU

9

WCH 9

AUT

10

Euro CQR 1

NZL

11

Euro CQR 2

IRL

12

Euro CQR 3

BLR

13

Euro CQR 4 subst tripart

DEN

14

African CQR 1

ZIM

15

African CQR 2

ALG

16

African CQR 3

NGR

17

African CQR 4

EGY

18

Asian/Ocea CQR 1

KOR

19

Asian/Ocea CQR 2

IRI

20

Asian/Ocea CQR 3

TPE

21

Asian/Ocea CQR 4

KAZ

22

Asian/Ocea CQR 5

INA

23

Asian/Ocea CQR 6

SIN

24

Asian/Ocea CQR 7

THA

25

Americas CQR 1

BER

26

Americas CQR 2

MEX

27

Americas CQR 3

TTO

28

Americas CQR 4

ARG

29

Americas CQR 5

PAR

30

Americas CQR 6

PER

31

7th place subst Host

BAH

32

Tripartite Invitation

TOG