Worlds 1999 Reports - Sunday 29th August
Conditions: In the morning, a filthy headwind from Lake Ontario, coming off lane six. Comment from Hugh Matheson: "How much do you think the British eight (men) in lane 6 would sell their lane for, to the Romanians in lane one?".
Where reports are marked "live" they were written during the race, though sometimes with extra comments tacked on in summary. Today I will not be including names of crew for placings - please refer to the previous reports and to the FISA site for crew information.
Pictures from Ruedi Ulli
James Tomkins, winner with Drew Ginn of the men's open coxless pairs yesterday, is the only man in rowing history to take world titles in all five of the men's sweep events: 8+, 4+, 4-, 2+ and 2-.
I am told that the British lightweight women's pair has protested about a foot-long piece of weed on their rudder during their final. The jury is still considering it, and a re-row is being talked about. You read that I saw them swerve in their lane - they think this is where they picked it up. Latest - the re-row was denied and the placings as written below stand. In all the events where GBR took silver, they were second to USA's gold.
Men's coxed fours final"Live". Another of the straight finals, and the crews all get away rapidly together, Argentina under-rating a little at the front of the pack, Romania moving past them to show the first real advantage. A few hundred metres out, the USA moving past into second place, Romania still leading as they pass the 500 marker. Italy now pushing as they near the halfway point, Argentina fading back now, Italy into third. The USA have moved up, Britain pushing back into contention, 500 to go and Britain are third over Italy, the USA leading Romania in the top two positions, and everyone's closing on Romania. Britain, including Jonny Searle (of the famous Barcelona 2+ finish) now stick in a tremendous push, into second place past Romania, but USA uncatchable, Britain now sprinting for dear life, closing the American lead to just three-quarters of a length, the same to Romania in third. Gold USA, silver GBR, bronze ROM with ITA fourth, ARG fifth and GER sixth.
Men's lightweight quadruple sculls A final"Live". Ireland, Italy and Germany take off into the lead, and straight away Italy showing the upper hand. Every stroke taking them further into domination, by 500 metres over a length up. By 1250 it's over two lengths, with Germany stalking Ireland in third and second respectively. In fifth, Spain is hounding Denmark who are bothering the Germans, and by 1600 metres the battle is becoming a close one for the lesser medals. USA are way back in the final place, and in lane six, will be very annoyed by the TV launch again, not to mention weed! Germany with 250 metres to go levelling to Ireland, the Irish fighting back, Denmark just seats away, everyone sprinting. No doubt for gold to Italy, and Germany half a canvas over the Irish for silver and bronze. Spain, Denmark and USA in the remaining positions.
Women's lightweight quadruple sculls A final"Live". A straight final this, between just four crews. After a quick start all round, the USA get going into the lead, Germany following. USA looking strong and comfortable.with Germany keeping them in sight. Canada are in third place, sadly some twelve seconds behind the leaders, and Zimbabwe in fourth. 1500 gone, and the German attack starts to show, but USA can keep hold of it to start with. 200 to go, still two-thirds of a length in it, but it's gold USA, silver Germany, bronze Canada. Zimbabwe, who have already been hassled by the wash caused by the TV launches in their women's lightweight pairs race, have to row in through the swell again, half a minute back in fourth.
Lightweight men's coxless pairs A final"Live". Ireland leading off the start, in lane four needing to dominate over France in lane five and Italy in lane three. 250 gone, the Irish rowers are well out in front, France and Italy vying for space behind. Chile and the Danes squeezing ahead of Germany, as they pass a thousand metres. Italy get their bows in front of France past 1250 gone, but the Chileans now moving up in a cracing push, into third place, France fourth. The wind is calmer for this race, still blustery on the course but as they approach the final 250 they get shelter from the grandstands. Italy and Chile reeling Ireland back in a little, Ireland look exhausted, not as cleanly together now, Italy now level at 50 to go, raising their rate again, and Chile only feet behind. Ireland can lose even the silver, Italy a third of a length up, Chile and Ireland level, finish line and we'll need the replay. A very long wait, this is the closest so far. Three thirteenths of a second it is, Chile get the silver behind Italy gold, and Ireland will be disappointed to settle for bronze after leading for so long. Extremely good racing from both Italy and Chile.
Lightweight women's coxless pairs A final"Live". USA and GBR racing off the start, GBR a scratch crew, Jo Nitsch having suffered a rib injury and Jane Hall substituting in the stroke seat. First few hundred metres, first USA with their noses in front, then GBR. Rest of the pack trailing somewhat. 1250 and the boating rafts, GBR have the slight advantage, but USA very close behind. Zimbabwe, Argentina and Mexico well back, GBR steering slightly awry as they get lured towards the Americans three lanes to their stroke side. 1500 metres gone, GBR now pushing solidly, moving to a half-length lead over the States, the British bow-woman looking nearly every stroke to check their progress. USA lifting their rate with 200 to go, now the two pairs are absolutely dead level and the USA rating higher. GBR sprinting hard, USA still over-rating them, the two crews moving so close together it won't even be a nod decision. Hitting the bubble-line, both must think they've got it. One replay, two replays, the Americans get the gold, 0.1 of a second behind are the Brits with silver, and though the other three crews in this straight final are lengths and lengths back, still rowing hard, Zimbabwe well enough up to ensure the bronze medal over Argentina and Mexico fourth and fifth.
Men's eights A final"Live" They're off, and the USA in lane four sets a blistering pace, already several seats up at 250 gone. Great Britain in chase behind, then the Netherlands in lane two who are having a hard time frm Romania in lane one. 500 metres out, USA and GBR well up on the Dutch eight, now the Brits pushing at the Americans, reeling them in, both these crews stroke for stroke. Bow balls in shot, USA looking confident but GBR inching back steadily, and still several seats from the Romanians, now being pushed by Russia. Every stroke looking stronger now for the British crew, and as they pass 500 to go they've taken the lead, just a short seat up, USA pushing back. Neck and neck, this in an incredible race, Russia and Romania now attacking in third and fourth, USA lifting again for the grandstand, GBR can't quite respond, USA moving past, last hundred metres, rates go up again, USA three seats up, last few strokes, USA half a length. Gold to America, silver Great Britain, bronze to Russia over Romania with the Dutch eight and Italy in five and six.
Women's eights A final"Live". A blistering start, the crews well over rate 40, nobody's going to settle too early in this one. Again the bowside lanes having an easier time, Canada, Romania and the USA easing their way steadily out. First markerpoint, Romania now three seats up, Canada in full chase behind them. Romania know they can't give the Canadians a chance, firing on all cylinders as they make the most of every stroke and pull catch by catch away. Nearing the midpoint of the race now, still the same order, USA in third not being troubled by Germany in the next lane. Romania pushing again at 1250, now they are really looking for clear water, but Canada and USA by no means finished. USA at 400 to go have moved into second place, Romania well ahead, but the grandstand goes wild as Canada and the USA start jumping the rate, every spurt of 10 strokes aiming for those coveted medals and both these crews astonishingly closing on Romania. Still 250 to go, you can't hear yourself think over the roar of the grandstand, now the USA are hauling ahead of Canada and giving Romania serious trouble, half a length down. One hundred metres to go, USA a third of a length, you can see every single Romanian looking at them, every rower in the eight knowing they have to stop their counterpart in the US equivalent seat from getting past. Sixteen blades digging in, just strokes to go, but Romania are safe to the gold. USA silver, Canada a strong bronze, well up on the Netherlands eight in fourth, Germany fifth, Australia sixth.
Men's quadruple sculls A final"Live". A tight start, Ukraine, Germany and Austria the early leaders. Germany show noses in front first, and with 750 gone start to push out hard into a real lead. Past Henley Island where the athletes boat, and the Ukraine, Switzerland and Australia sweeping along, playing catch-up. Germany now out on their own at 1200 metres, leaving the TV monitor on the right before the next bows appear on the left, totally in control. Ukraine looking good behind them, Austria in trouble in between, Netherlands can't respond to the Australians, who push past to challenge the Ukrainians. Two hundred metres left, and Australia only a canvas off taking second place, Germany sculling to victory, Netherlands in fourth and Switzerland and Austria in the final places. Final chance for Australia to challenge, but Ukraine still have a short head, and it's silver for them, bronze for Australia.
Women's quadruple sculls A final"Live". Germany rocketing away, in favoured lane five, leaving Denmark, Russia and the Ukraine a lot to do to catch them. Germany are defending the world title here, but with a new quad of scullers from last year, only Manuela Lutz remaining, going for her third successive quad gold. 600 metres, and Germany have a commanding lead, nearly out to a length, but the Ukraine aren't letting go, and have Russia hot in pursuit. USA, Denmark and China lagging off the medal pace behind. Past the half-way marker, Germany well in control, keeping tabs on the Ukranians now making a good push away from Russia. Final few hundred metres, and Germany start to lift for home, not really needed but they're making a good display, and take the gold with graceful ease, clearing the Ukranian bow as they reach the line, with Russia in third, USA, China and Denmark well back.
Men's lightweight coxless four A final"Live". Denmark's lightweight four are an incredible outfit, unbeatable in this exact combination since 1997. But in this highly competitive event, Australia and Italy are more than ready to challenge them. Denmark off like bullets, passing the 500 a second ahead, but Australia hauling away from the rest of the field now and never letting the Danes get properly clear. 12050 metres, Denmark pushing very hard indeed, eking out a second further on the Australians to two-thirds of a length. 500 to go, Australia hammering away again, Denmark at a higher rate, still not quite clear but obviously in control. Now France and Italy challenging Australia for second, creeping up quickly on the green and gold. Denmark out in front, but three bowballs in line a length back, a storming finish, this. Still in line, 100 to go, still in line, two strokes to go, on the nod, over the line, and that agonising pause..... Finally a result: Denmark of course gold in 6:34.x, then Australia silver in 6:37.05, France bronze 6:37.35, Italy out in fourth by the merest whisker, 6:37.75. Austria and Canada fifth and sixth.
Men's lightweight double sculls A final"Live". Off very high-rating, the excellent sculling making a mockery of the vicious headwind at first. Italy rushing off to break the pack, while Germany, Switzerland, USA, France and Australia harden to stay in touch. 750 metres, and the Italians who have taken silver twice running in this event push forward. 1200 metres gone, Australia now surging strongly past the Italians whom they are matching stroke for stroke, into the lead. Can the Italians match this pace? They battle back, through the final split marker, getting back on level pegging once again with the Aussies. 250 metres to go and Italy are steaming past Australia, who have nothing to respond with and will have to settle for silver.. Germany now looking to have the bronze position under control, Switzerland, France and the USA in that order behind. Italy are running away with this race, over the line and they've done it - the eternal runners up get it commandingly right when it matters and reap a gold medal.
Women's lightweight double sculls A final"Live". Defending champions are Garner and Collins from the USA, with last year's silver also here, Stephan and Blasberg of Germany, while the Romanian crew contains one of last year's bronze medallists, Macoviciuc. The Dutch double away from the blocks first, showing a canvas ahead as the crews go through the first few sets of lane buoys. Romania and Germany following. 500 metres, and the quality starts to show: Romania have steadily pushed right through to the front, taking the full force of the headwind on their back. An extremely slow time, over two seconds for this first split, the conditions tough for these small scullers. At the thousand, and Romania now developing quite an assertive lead, clear water now and USA/AUS/FRA fighting it out behind. TV monitors show Romania squeezing each stroke away, full picture and there's not even a bowball overlapping them. USA doing a great job just behind them though, battling into the wind and leaving the rest of the field trailing. Third place not easy to call - Australia, France nearly on equal terms, France trying the lift which served them so well in their semifinal. Into the last 400, Romania completely unassailable now, USA comfortable in second, and Australia have lifted the power and are running straight past France, going to get bronze by clear water over the Europeans. Germany fifth, and the Netherlands a lonely sixth.
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