Paris 2024 | Will Karolien Florijn make history? – Many medals expected from women’s rowing team

Paris 2024 | Will Karolien Florijn make history? – Many medals expected from women’s rowing team

At the last world championships in Belgrade, ‘we’ were even the most successful country with five world titles. On the rowing course in Paris, no less than three women’s boats will be at the start, which are reigning world champions.

Karolien Florijn is the absolute eye-catcher of the delegation led by head coach Eelco Meenhorst. If Florijn wins, she will write history. Never before has a Dutch woman won Olympic gold in the one-man boat.

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 | Will Karolien Florijn make history? – Many medals expected from women’s rowing team

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What: Rowing (Women)
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: Karolien Florijn (scull), Veronique Meester, Ymkje Clevering (pair without coxswain), Marloes Oldenburg, Hermijntje Drenth, Tinka Offereins, Benthe Boonstra (four without coxswain), Laila Youssifou, Tessa Dullemans, Roos de Jong, Bente Paulis (double four), Lisa Scheenaard, Martine Veldhuis (double scull)
Favorites: Karolien Florijn (sculls), Netherlands, Australia (pair without), Romania (double sculls), Netherlands, Great Britain (four without), Great Britain, Ukraine, Netherlands (double sculls), Romania, United States, Canada (eight), Great Britain (lightweight double sculls)

What does the Paris rowing location look like?

The official 2000-metre rowing course was built especially for the Olympic Games on a lake near the town of Vaires-Sur-Marne, just south of Paris. The Olympic Village is about 40 kilometres away. The complex was completed in 2019, making it the first Olympic facility to be fully operational. It meets all international standards and the lake also offers space for recreational and other outdoor sports. It is also the home base for 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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Karolien Florijn undefeated queen of the skiff

The absolute figurehead of the Dutch team is Karolien Florijn. The 26-year-old rower switched to the single-handed boat after her silver medal in the coxless four at the previous Olympic Games, and that turned out to be a very lucky choice. Florijn has been undefeated since her first race in the skiff, and she has also won the European and world titles twice. In Paris, the daughter of two-time Olympic champion Ronald Florijn and former German world champion Antje Rehaag is the absolute top favorite.

Although the two-time world champion will also have to be alert. At the last test of strength in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Australian Tara Rigney came closer than ever. The caveat was that Florijn appeared at the start there quite tired from an altitude training camp.

Performance pressure new for Florijn

The Leiden native will certainly feel pressure, Florijn recently admitted in several interviews. However, she is exceptionally well prepared for it. Father Florijn put his children – son Finn competes in the double four, which is also a favorite – to judo at an early age to make them more resilient. Everything in their upbringing was focused on winning and getting better. All in a down-to-earth way, that is.

“There are people who say that my performances make it difficult for Karolien and Finn and that my medals create pressure. I don’t believe in that. You can also say: they know that it is normal to achieve something like that. It is not something unattainable. You have to present it like this: you can do that tomorrow too,” he once told the newspaper Trouw.


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Will it be gold for Meester/Clevering or Australia?

The silver women’s four from Tokyo did not only produce Karolien Florijn. The current world champions in the coxless pair, Veronique Meester and Ymkje Clevering, also come from this team. However, this duo was absolutely not a favorite for Olympic gold until a year ago. At that time, they were even outclassed by the Australian duo of Annabel McIntyre and Jessica Morrison during a competition on the Amsterdam Bosbaan.

That team also improved the world record in that race. Later that year at the world championships, however, the ten-second difference between the two boats was gone. In fact, the Netherlands beat the Australians. Since then, both couples have only rowed against each other once, and that was at the end of May in Lucerne. Meester and Clevering won again.

Will Oldenburg show resilience again?

There was a sensational victory at the last World Championship for the women’s coxless four. A special detail: they did this with Marloes Oldenburg in the bow position, who ten months earlier had suffered a fatal fall from her mountain bike. cervical vertebra had broken. The original prognosis was that she would never be able to row again, something that Oldenburg quickly proved wrong.

Last season, the four were a little less on steam than in 2023, although coach Freek Robbers’ team achieved a neat second place in Lucerne. The expectation is that the quartet – just like last year – can still improve considerably with a good final altitude training camp. Whether it will be enough to beat the favorite British team remains to be seen. So far, they seem unassailable.


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Can the double four surprise for even more gold?

In addition to all this violence, it is not even unthinkable that the Netherlands can surprise with a fourth boat in Paris. It was once the intention that the double four (in this discipline one rows with two oars instead of one) would be the first priority boat of the Dutch after Florijn.

But somehow they always just failed to win an internationally highly regarded race, while others did. Nevertheless, the team with the experienced double scull of Roos de Jong and Laila Youssifou on board always performed very steadily with a consistent second place. Only, either Great Britain or Ukraine was always a fraction faster. Knowing that they have already won against all the top teams, there is a real chance that it will come at the right time in Paris.


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Final spot and maybe more for Veldhuis and Scheenaard?

Finally, there is also a Dutch double sculls at the start. The name of Martine Veldhuis in particular stands out. The rower from Twente originally competed in lightweight rowing (last on the program of the Games in Paris), but successfully made the transition to the open class.

She is now rowing together with Lisa Scheenaard who already won bronze in this discipline in Tokyo. Given the heavy competition in this field, achieving a place in the final (best six) seems to be the first goal. Since the differences are small, a medal is also possible. However, Romania seems unbeatable.


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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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