Who to (imaginary) watch: World Rowing Fantasy Cup II
As the virtual 2020 World Rowing season charges forward, rowing heroes from the past and present are getting ready to take the stage for the part two of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup. As you prepare to press that button and vote for the fastest crew, take a look at the rankings.
Men’s Pair (M2-)
Match-up: Martin and Valent Sinkovic (CRO) vs. Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent (GBR)
Two weeks ago, in the first stage of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup, the Sinkovic brothers beat the legends Drew Ginn and James Tomkins of Australia. Now, they will go up against another legendary crew, Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent from Great Britain.
Redgrave and Pinsent first hit the international scene in 1990. They were trying to prove their speed together and it did not take long. At the 1990 World Rowing Championships, they took bronze. One year later, it was World Championship gold and two years later, that became Olympic gold. The duo kept their pace and repeated the gold medal standard at the 1996 Olympic Games. Together in a four, they also won gold at the 2000 Olympic Games. So, how will they fare against today’s super stars? That is up to you.
Women’s pair (W2-)
Match-up: Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler (NZL) vs. Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (GBR)
The Kiwi women’s pair has been unstoppable on the water, and in the Fantasy Cup, it was no different. Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler claimed round one against Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle. But now the Kiwi World Champions will go up against the reigning Olympic Champions from Great Britain.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning dominated the last Olympic cycle in the women’s pair. They were often so far ahead during races that it looked like they were competing against a different field. Their Olympic gold in 2012 was the first-ever gold for British women’s rowing. They took their success through to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games when they completed their medal count with another Olympic gold. If Glover and Stanning went up against Gowler and Prendergast, who would cross the line first?
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
Match up: Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle (NZL) vs. Kirsten van der Kolk and Marit van Eupen (NED)
Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle took home the gold in the first round of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup when they competed against the British Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copland. But now they are set to go up against a Dutch duo: Kirsten van der Kolk and Marit van Eupen.
While McBride and Kiddle won over the world with their recent World Championship win, the Dutch have more experience to bring to the table. Van der Kolk and van Eupen partnered together for ten years, winning their first Olympic medal in 2004, a bronze. But that was not the end. The double continued on, winning Olympic gold in 2008 to cap off their successful career. So, who would win in the battle between today’s young guns and the experienced Dutch double?
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
Match-up: Rasmus Quist and Mads Rasmussen vs. Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter (GBR)
In a sprint for the finish line, history’s Danish double of Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist took the title ahead of Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy. But now, history will repeat itself as Rasmussen and Quist face off with their British rivals, Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter.
These two doubles raced each other in the ‘real world’, but the results were always varied. In 2008, Hunter and Purchase claimed Olympic gold, while Rasmussen and Quist had to settle for bronze. Four years later, the tides turned. Rasmussen and Quist had the upper hand in the Olympic final, taking Olympic gold ahead of Purchase and Hunter. Now, there is a chance for them to race again. So, if these two doubles went head-to-head in their prime one more time, who would take the gold?
PR2 para mixed double sculls (PR2Mix2x)
Match-up: Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu (FRA) vs. Laurence Whiteley and Lauren Rowles (GBR)
It was a convincing win for the French double of Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu in the first round. The 2012 Paralympic silver medallists and 2016 Paralympic bronze medallists will go up against tough competition in the second stage of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup.
Their new match-up is against Great Britain’s Laurence Whiteley and Lauren Rowles. The British double have been on fire. In 2016, they claimed gold at the Paralympic Games and after a silver medal at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, they were back on top in 2019 to take the title. So, who will finish first in this fantasy race?
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
Match-up: Mahe Drysdale (NZL) vs. Olaf Tufte (NOR)
In the race through time, the men’s single sculls category is beginning to heat up. Olaf Tufte is one of the most decorated rowers of all time. His career started in 1994 and is still running. In fact, Tufte has now qualified for his 7th Olympic Games, which will take place next year in Tokyo.
Tufte is entering the competition against the first-round winner, Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand. These two athletes have already competed against each other in the ‘real world’, but the question is, were they both in their prime? While Tufte claimed the 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold in the men’s single sculls, Drysdale took 2012 and 2016. So, what if these athletes, both in their prime, both with modern equipment would race – who would win?
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
Match-up: Ekaterina Karsten (BLR) vs. Rumyana Neykova (BUL)
Ekaterina Karsten is one of the biggest names in rowing. She has eight Olympic Games under her belt and almost too many medals to count. Her speed was legendary enough to pull her through the first round of the fantasy cup and it is about to be tested again.
Karsten will go up against former rival, Rumyana Neykova of Bulgaria. Neykova, similar to Karsten, spanned an impressive career with five Olympic Games. She racked up three Olympic medals, one gold, as well as two World Championship titles. Neykova famously still holds the World Best Time in the women’s single sculls at 7:07.71, set in 2002. This is the longest-standing World Best Time in an Olympic boat class. Who do you think would win this race?
Men’s Eight (M8+)
Match-up: 2016 British men’s eight vs. 2008 Canadian men’s eight
The 2016 British men’s eight already showed their stuff in the first round of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup. They were known for their ability to pull it out when it really counted. Now, they will go up against another tough crew: the 2008 Canadian men’s eight.
The 2008 Canadian men’s eight pulled off an incredible win at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The crew set a scorching pace of the start and while it did not look pretty, they managed to fend off attacks from the crews flanking them. So, if this dare-devil Canadian eight goes up against the level-headed British eight, who would cross the line first?
Women’s Eight (W8+)
Match-up: 2004 Romanian women’s eight vs. 2013 United States women’s eight
In the first round of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup, it was a nail-biter between the 2004 Romanian women’s eight and the 2012 USA women’s eight. In the last hours, Romania pulled together for the win.
Now, they will go up against another American crew. The USA women’s eight from 2013. Just one year after their 2012 Olympic gold, with almost an entirely different line-up, the US women set the World Best Time at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland. They hold seven Olympic gold medals between them, compared to Romania’s 35. So, which crew would be able to hold up in the heat?
Now get ready to vote.
How to participate:
1. Friday 1 May voting goes from 9:00 CET for M2-, W2-, M8+, W8+
2. Saturday 2 May voting goes from 9:00 CET for M1x, W1, LM2x, LW2x, PR2Mix2x
3. Vote via the link on www.worldrowing.com or via Instagram Stories @worldrowingofficial
4. Watch for the winners on Sunday 3 May
Ready all. The World Rowing Fantasy Cup II is about to begin.