Where to from here? Analysing the men’s four
It has been anything but usual this Olympiad. With the expected wrap up of the Olympic cycle not taking place due to the postponement of the Olympic Games, the race to the Olympics runs on for one more year. Here’s a look back at the last four years in the hopes of predicting what might happen as we head into the 2021 season.
Recap of last four years: Perhaps one of the most surprising developments in the men’s four over the last Olympic cycle was the shift on the podium at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. In 2017 and 2018, the first four places turned out to be the same: Australia, Italy, Great Britain, Netherlands. Then fast forward to 2019 and Poland and Romania pulled off the unthinkable, taking the top two spots ahead of Great Britain.
- 2019 World Championships: POL, ROU GBR, ITA, USA, AUS
- 2018 World Championships: AUS, ITA, GBR, NED, ROU, GER
- 2017 World Championships: AUS, ITA, GBR, NED, DEN, GER
Performance of the Olympiad: Looking back on the full cycle, the most consistent player has been Great Britain. They managed a bronze medal at all three World Championship events. Australia, however, can argue that they claimed gold at two of the three – perhaps this is worth more than the British consistency.
Closest medal race: 2018 World Rowing Cup I when the Netherlands 2 finished just 0.01 seconds ahead of Belarus to claim the silver medal. See the photo finish here.
Must watch: Australia narrowly beat Italy at the 2018 World Rowing Championships. The race is fantastic, here.
Quote of the quadrennial: “We tried everything we could to stay with the others. We are Italian and we row with our heart. In the final you have nothing to lose so you just empty the tank.” Bruno Rosetti, Italy, silver, Word Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Olympic qualifiers to date: POL, ROU, GBR, ITA, USA, AUS, NED, SUI (8 of 10 spots)
The ramification of an ‘extra year’: If we consider the 2020 European Rowing Championships as an example, the extra year may benefit countries like the Netherlands and Italy where they were developing younger crews. It may negatively affect a country like Great Britain, where they are dealing with the resignation of the Head Coach Juergen Grobler and slightly older athletes.
Olympic prediction: The Polish and Romanian dominance in 2019 may have been a slight aberration. We should look at the more consistent players for the Olympics next year, like Australia, Italy and Great Britain, especially when considering their past Olympic success.