Solidity spells results for the men’s quad
The final of the men’s quadruple sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games felt like a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre on the part of Germany as they raced the perfect negative-split race at Eton Dorney.
The men’s quadruple sculls is the focus of today’s review as World Rowing remembers the greatest stories of the London 2012 Olympic Games Rowing Regatta.
Germany came to the Olympics having finished second behind Croatia at all three Samsung World Rowing Cups of the season. Everything seemed to be lining up for Croatia heading into the Games and as Croatia moved through the heats and semifinals they looked to be in fine form but they were yet to meet Germany.
For the semifinals, Germany raced in one semi and Croatia raced in the other. Both countries won their respective races, with Croatia clocking fastest time.
The Croatian build-up story is quite remarkable. During the last Olympic cycle the crew members were all in different boats and focusing on the under-23 level of competition. Then in 2009 brothers Valent and Martin Sinkovic raced against David Sain and Damir Martin in the men’s double sculls at the first Rowing World Cup of the season. The two crews finished third and fourth respectively. Discussions began at once about putting a quad together. At the next World Cup the four entered the quad. They finished first. The Croatian men’s quad was born and they remained together through to London earning under-23 world titles along the way as well as the first ever World Championship title in rowing for Croatia in 2010.
Then there was the thrilling final at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled. Coming through to the finish Australia and Germany were neck-and-neck with Germany holding an ever-so-slight edge. Croatia followed in third. However, just metres before the line Germany caught a crab which handed Australia the win. Croatia were third.
At Eton Dorney Germany and Croatia met in lanes six and five respectively of the Olympic final with Estonia in lane four, Australia in three, Great Britain in two and 2008 Olympic Champions, Poland – still intact – in lane one.
Germany’s Karl Schulze, Phillipp Wende, Lauritz Schoof and Tim Grohmann then conducted a near-perfect race. They started out just ahead of Croatia and using a negative-split strategy they managed to slowly and methodically push away from Croatia. At the line Germany had shown the capability to save their best race for when it was the most important.
Croatia had finished second and Australia were third. This was a positive result for Australia after finishing fourth four years ago at the Beijing Olympics. Three of Australia’s crew – Christopher Morgan, James McRae and Daniel Noonan – had remained from that 2008 Olympic crew with Karsten Forsterling being the new member since Beijing.
Estonia’s fourth-place finish was admirable. The crew had only qualified for the Olympics in May at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.
Both the German and Croatian crew were at their first Olympic Games and both crews are made up of young members. Expect to see Germany and Croatia battling it out as they head towards the 2016 Rio Olympics.