Paris 2024 | Four chances for gold – Can men’s rowing team convert world titles into Olympic success?

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Paris 2024 | Four chances for gold – Can men’s rowing team convert world titles into Olympic success?

On the rowing course in Paris, no fewer than four men’s boats will be at the start that are contenders for gold. In sculling in particular – rowing with two oars instead of one – ‘we’ are the masters. At the last international showdown in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Netherlands won gold in all three of these disciplines. Two teams – the double four and the double two – are also reigning world champions.

Add to that the fact that the towering single sculler Simon van Dorp is definitely not without a chance against the German top favourite Oliver Zeidler and that our team also has the famous Holland Eight in the team, who could just surprise us.

The rowing tournament will take place from 27 July to 3 August and will always be in the morning hours. This gives the organisation the opportunity to move races to later in the day if the weather conditions require it. During the test event a year ago, the strong wind sometimes made rowing almost impossible. The finals will be held from 31 July.

Paris 2024 | Four chances for gold – Can men’s rowing team convert world titles into Olympic success?

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What: Rowing (Men)
Where: Nautical Stadium of Vaires-Sur-Marne
When: July 27 – August 3 from 9:30am-1pm, finals from July 31
Where to see: Eurosport 1 and HBO Max
Dutch participants: : Simon van Dorp (scull), Stef Broenink, Melvin Twellaar (double scull), Lennart van Lierop, Finn Florijn, Tone Wieten, Koen Metsemakers (double four), Ralf Rienks, Olav Molenaar, Jan van der Bij, Ruben Knab, Sander de Graaf, Jacob van de Kerkhof, Gert-Jan van Doorn, Mick Makker, Dieuwke Fetter (eight), Guus Mollee, Nelson Ritsema, Eli Brouwer, Rik Rienks (four without)
Favorites: Oliver Zeidler, Simon van Dorp (sculls), Netherlands (double sculls), Great Britain, Switzerland (pair without), Netherlands (double four), United States, Great Britain, New Zealand (four without), Great Britain (eight), Italy, Switzerland, Ireland (lightweight double sculls)

What does the Paris rowing location look like?

The official 2000-meter rowing course was built especially for the Olympic Games in a lake near the town of Vaires-Sur-Marne, just south of Paris. The Olympic Village is about 40 kilometers away. The complex was completed in 2019, making it the first Olympic facility to be completely ready for use.

It meets all international standards and the lake also offers space for recreation and other outdoor sports. It is also the home of the Olympic canoe tournament that will take place after the rowing. The public stands along the course can accommodate 24,000 spectators.

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Broenink and Twellaar dominant again?

It is almost dangerous to say, but perhaps the biggest certainty for a gold medal in rowing is the double sculls of Stef Broenink and Melvin Twellaar. In this combination, gold was narrowly missed during Tokyo 2020, but the men were overjoyed with Olympic silver.

They won’t be anymore. Twellaar developed after the Games as a lightning-fast skiffler while Broenink from Leiden took some time off. Since they got back together, they are undefeated.

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Sinkovic brothers banished

The duo already dealt the first blow last year when they repeatedly defeated one of the most successful teams in rowing history, the Croatian Sinkovic brothers. After the previous World Championships, the latter announced that they would stop with the double sculls, the event in which they had become Olympic champions in 2016. They would focus again on the coxless pair (rowing with one oar) in which they had won in Tokyo.

It was clear that they no longer had confidence in beating the Dutch in Paris. So their biggest competitor has already been defeated. Still, gold is of course no certainty, as Italy has a strong new young team this year. On board Matteo Sartori, son of Olympic champion Alessio Sartori, one of the strongest rowers ever.

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Can the double four retain its Olympic title?

Almost as dominant as the double sculls is the double four. In this discipline, the Netherlands is the reigning Olympic champion and two of that team are still in the boat. They are the stroke rowers Koen Metsemakers and Tone Wieten. Both took a long period off after Tokyo to focus on their studies. Metsemakers studies dentistry and Wieten nursing.

As a result, they only got back into the boat last season. Together with Lennart van Lierop, who became European champion in the skiff that year, and Finn Florijn, another champion boat was born. Poland, Italy and perhaps Great Britain seem to be the best opponents, but were not faster yet.

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The ultimate poster: Van Dorp versus Zeidler

The race that rowing fans all over the world are most looking forward to is the men’s single sculls. In the premier class, the German Oliver Zeidler has been dominant in recent years. He has won both world championships since the previous Games – where he could not handle the waves and lost to the Greek Ntouskos.

Meanwhile, Dutch skiffler Simon van Dorp developed like a comet. Van Dorp won twice, once during an unimportant semi-final of a World Championship, but the last time was the last serious test of strength of the season in Lucerne. Van Dorp beat Zeidler in the last strokes just before the finish.

Isn’t Zeidler shooting himself in the foot?

It is remarkable that the German is also participating in the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in England, as the only serious Olympic team, a few weeks before the Games. Experts consider this combination unwise.

At that moment, Van Dorp is still preparing for the Olympic Games at altitude. The Amsterdammer also has the mental advantage of having been the best last time. The question will mainly be how Zeidler will deal with this.

Can the Holland Eight surprise?

Many sports fans still know the famous Holland Acht that wrote history in 1996 by becoming the first Olympic champion with a Dutch eight. Since then, the name Holland Acht has had something magical and often a successor was close to a title. However, it never got better than silver or bronze. And although 28 years later one of the sons of the then batsman Nico Rienks is in the boat – Ralf Rienks – the Holland Acht is still not a favorite.

The British have been winning almost everything for two years. Even if everything goes well for the team of successful coach Diederik Simon, they still finish just behind. Although gold is not impossible, the octet would be wise to focus on winning a medal first. That will not happen automatically either. The Americans, who also have a great history in the so-called royal event, were, for example, much faster in Lucerne and finished just behind Great Britain.

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Can the coxless four perform stunts?

The last men’s boat in Paris will mainly have to gain experience. On board are the still very young Guus Mollee and Eli Brouwer. The latter has never even rowed a World Championship. With Rik Rienks and Nelson Ritsema, this team hopes to surprise.

However, reaching the final will be the first important and tough hurdle. After a bronze World Cup medal in Varese, a sixth place in Lucerne followed when the competition was better. But even then a few boats were missing.

WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING?

Eurosport and HBO Max will broadcast the battle for gold, silver and bronze live during Paris 2024. Just like in Tokyo and Beijing, we will bring you all the matches in Paris live with a large team of experts and commentators, with all the emotions, reactions, analyses and backgrounds. Follow our new channel on Whatsapp already?

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