Who to (imaginary) watch : World Rowing Fantasy Cup
The 2020 fantasy rowing season is about to get off to a roaring start at the very first World Rowing Fantasy Cup. The entries have been compiled and the lineups comprise of some of the very best from rowing’s past and present.
Vote via the link on www.worldrowing.com or via Instagram Stories @worldrowingofficial. The first round of voting is on Friday 10 April and votes can be made for men’s and women’s pair and men’s and women’s eight. On Saturday 11 April vote for the men’s and women’s single sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls and para PR2 mixed double sculls.
Take a look at who you should vote to win this weekend – the weekend that would have been 2020 World Rowing Cup I.
Men’s Pair (M2-)
Match-up: Drew Ginn & James Tomkins (AUS) vs. Martin Sinkovic & Valent Sinkovic (CRO)
These two crews have a host of medals between them, making this an extraordinarily tough one to call. Tomkins and Ginn hold two World Rowing Championship gold medals, from 1999 and 2003. They went on in 2004 to grab the coveted Olympic gold medal in the boat class. But that’s not all, the pair had other sweep rowing successes. Tomkins won two Olympic gold medals in the men’s four from the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, while Ginn also had 1996 gold from the men’s four and then went on to win gold at the 2008 Olympic Games together with Duncan Free. If anything is for sure, these two can sweep.
The Australians are lining up against the all-star Sinkovic brothers. The Sinkovic’s are synonymous with winning in today’s rowing world. The brothers have two World Championship titles in the men’s pair from 2018 and 2019, as well as a 2017 silver medal. The Sinkovics, however, have much more rowing history. They only switched to the pair in 2017, after taking Olympic gold in the men’s double sculls and then prior to that having World Championship success in the men’s quadruple sculls.
Who do you think would win this match-up?
Women’s Pair (W2-)
Match-up: Marnie McBean & Kathleen Heddle (CAN) vs. Grace Prendergast & Kerri Gowler (NZL)
In the women’s pair, can Olympic gold beat World Championship gold? The Canadian crew of McBean and Heddle claimed World Championship gold in 1991, before going on to take Olympic gold in 1992. But this pair was not just a one-race wonder. They also raced in the women’s eight, managing to double up and win gold at both the 1991 and 1992 events. Their best time together in the pair was 6:57.42.
McBean and Heddle will be lining up against a super-star crew from New Zealand. Prendergast and Gowler currently hold the World Best time in the women’s pair at 6:49.08. But that time comes from nearly 30 years of added technology and training knowledge. What if these two crews were racing in the same erg? This race will not be easy to call. Prendergast and Gowler are two-time World Champions in the event and in 2019, just as their fellow competitors did, the New Zealanders also raced to gold in the women’s eight.
Which pair do you think would cross the finish line first in this race through time?
Men’s eight (M8+)
Match-up: The 2004 USA men’s eight vs. The 2016 British men’s eight
The eights are the pinnacle of every rowing regatta. As there are nine athletes that can change one year to the next, it can be difficult to compare crews over time, so the match-up here are two specific crews. The first is the 2004 Olympic Champion boat from the United States. With names like Jason Read, Bryan Volpenhein and coxswain Pete Cipollone in the boat, this crew has a myriad of medals to their names. In the late 1990s they scored a multiple World Championship medals.
The United States will go up against another generation, the British men’s eight from 12 years later, the 2016 Olympic Champion crew. The flagship British boat had a number of crew changes during the 2016 Olympic cycle. Coach Juergen Grobler switched focus between the four and the eight several times. When it came to the Olympic race, Grobler had designed the perfect mix of youth and experience. They won.
In the race through history, who would cross the line first?
Women’s eight (W8+)
Match-up: The 2012 USA women’s eight vs. The 2004 Romanian women’s eight
In recent rowing history, the United States has dominated the women’s eight, losing only one World Championship or Olympic title in 14 years. The Olympic gold medal winning crew from 2012 stands out as one of the best. Together, the crew holds 15 Olympic gold medals and two silvers between its members. Going to the London Olympics they were practically unstoppable with a US winning streak that went back to 2005. This crew included famed coxswain Mary Whipple along with Caryn Davies, Meghan Musnicki, Susan Francia and Erin Cafaro.
But what if they matched up against the best of women’s eight rowing history. Before the American women’s eight came into their own, the Romanians dominated the women’s eight scene. The 2004 Olympic gold medal winning line-up boasted more than 35 Olympic medals, 26 of which were gold. The crew had some of the greats of Romanian rowing including Viorica Susanu, Elisabeta Lipa-Oleniuc, Georgeta Andrunache and Doina Ignat.
The Romanians in their 2004 prime speed against the United States in their 2012 shape, who do you think would take the gold medal?
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
Match-up: Sophie Hosking & Katherine Copeland (GBR) vs. Zoe McBride & Jackie Kiddle (NZL)
The lightweight category always provides some extremely tight races, and we would not expect this race to be any different. Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland came together to win Olympic gold in 2012, finishing in a time of 7:09.30. One of the iconic images from the London 2012 Games was Copeland’s surprised face when winning the medal. The duo was a young combination, with Copeland winning the lightweight women’s single sculls just a year earlier at the under-23 championships.
They will go up against present-day stars from New Zealand, Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle. This similarly young duo are the current World Champions after a spectacular race in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. Back in 2017, McBride and Kiddle picked up a silver medal after coming off their 2015 under-23 win. McBride also holds the current World Best Time in the lightweight women’s single.
What about this race between the best of the British and the best of New Zealand, who would cross the line first?
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
Match-up: Mads Rasmussen & Rasmus Quist (DEN) vs. Fintan McCarthy & Paul O’Donovan (IRL)
In men’s lightweight rowing, the Danish have always been a force to be reckoned with. Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist won Olympic bronze in 2008. But that was not enough. They kept at it for another Olympic cycle and in the race of a lifetime, they sprinted through the home-favoured British to take gold in 2012.
Rasmussen and Quist will go up against the new hot-shot double of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan from Ireland. The O’Donovan brothers became famous at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio when they won the first medal ever for Ireland in rowing. But the brothers were separated in 2019 when another speedy rower came out of the woodwork. Fintan McCarthy was matched up with Paul and together they raced to 2019 World Championship victory.
The Irish are known for their fast sprints, but if they lined up against the Danish top sprinting speed, who would come out on top?
Para PR2 mixed double sculls (PR2Mix2x)
Match-up: Tianming Fei & Shuang Liu (CHN) vs. Stephane Tardieu & Perle Bouge (FRA)
The PR2 mixed double sculls is relatively new to the world of rowing, but one of the earliest successful competitors were Tianming Fei and Shuang Liu of China. Fei won gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, before partnering up with Liu to take silver at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. Together, the duo’s best time was 3:58.45 over the 1000m distance.
They will line up against France’s Stephane Tardieu and Perle Bouge. Together this French duo won a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games and went on to take the World Championship title in 2013. Tardieu and Bouge came back in 2016 to win a bronze medal in Rio, with their best time together at 3:59.93 for the 1000m distance.
What if these two doubles lined up against each other, both in their prime?
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
Match-up: Mahe Drysdale (NZL) vs. Pertti Karppinen (FIN)
There are only two rowers in the history of the sport to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the men’s single sculls and Pertti Karppinen is one of them. The list of his medals spans the years as he racked up two World Championship gold medals, two silver and two bronze in the men’s single, to add to his three Olympic gold medals. Karpinnen’s personal best time was 6:48.08 at the 1985 World Rowing Championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium.
Karppinen will go up against another rower who is looking to match the feat of three consecutive Olympic golds. Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand already has two consecutive Olympic gold medals. Drysdale also has five World Championship titles and three World Championship silver medals. Drysdale’s career already spans an impressive 18 years. Drysdale’s personal best time is 6:33.35 which he set at the 2009 World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland.
If Drysdale and Karppinen, both in their prime, raced, who do you think would win?
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
Match-up: Ekaterina Karsten (BLR) vs. Kimberley Brennan (AUS)
Ekaterina Karsten rowed internationally for longer than most young rowers have been alive – 29 years. She built such an impressive medal collection that it is almost impossible to count. Between 1997 and 2009, she earned six World Championship titles in the women’s single sculls. Karsten also has two Olympic gold medals, one silver and one bronze. These medals are only a portion of her Olympic experience, which spans seven Olympic Games. She was on her way through her eighth Olympic cycle, but stopped just short of the 2019 World Rowing Championship qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Karsten will go up again the best of a slightly younger generation, Kimberley Brennan of Australia. Brennan is one of a handful of athletes to win two Olympic medals at one Games. In 2012, she picked up bronze in the women’s single and silver in the women’s double. Brennan worked her way to the top of the pack in the women’s single at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea. Her distinct long, sweeping strokes kept her in the top of the pack in 2014 and 2015. Brennan ultimately won her Olympic gold in the women’s single at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio before retiring from the sport.
For more details on how to participate in the World Rowing Fantasy Cup click here.