The 2009 World Rowing
Poland on the world rowing map. The Polish
federation successfully staged the
championships in Poznan, scored their best
medal count ever at a World Championship
regatta, and made a breakthrough in
women’s rowing, winning their first world
title in a female Olympic boat class,
the women’s double sculls.
Since its reunification, Germany has asserted
its strength on the international rowing scene.
Often topping the medals table at the senior level, it has also
proven time and time again at junior and under- 23
championships that a new generation of star rowers
is being nurtured, and excellently so.
Polish rowing has become increasingly successful over the
years. The country’s first Olympic gold in rowing, won at
the 2000 Games in Sydney by lightweights Robert Sycz and
Tomasz Kucharski, sparked the rise of Polish rowing. In
Athens, four years later, the lightweight double won again and
another three Polish crews raced in the finals of the Olympic
Regatta. Sycz and Kucharski did not compete in Beijing,
but the baton had been passed on, and not only did Poland
win another Olympic gold, this time in the men’s quadruple
sculls, but also a silver in the lightweight men’s four.
“With our two medals [in Beijing], we became the second
[Olympic] sport in Poland after athletics,” says Ryszard
Stadniuk, president of the Polish Rowing Federation.
“They sent about 80 athletes and banked two medals,
we only sent 20 rowers and banked the same number of
medals. This made rowing more popular.”
A goal of three medals in London, including a first ever
Olympic medal in a female boat class, seems to be on track.
So when Germany returned home from the 2008 Olympic
Regatta in Beijing with the worst Olympic medal tally
in rowing that it had scored in decades (one silver and
one bronze), the National Federation went through a
major overhaul to ensure it would be back on top at the
Already in 2009, the federation’s new strategies seemed
to bear fruit. Germany took away the highest number
of medals at all three World Rowing Championships
(junior, under- 23 and senior).
Germany’s most successful rower ever, Kathrin Boron,
is now retired. A four-time Olympic Champion and
multiple World Champion, she is one of the most
accomplished female rowers of all time. Boron must have
been watching Germany’s new women’s quad win bronze
without her at the 2009 World Rowing Championships.
The German men’s eight, long the nation’s flagship
crew, is back on top with a 2009 World Championship
title following a disappointing performance in Beijing.
An amazing crew of brothers took away gold in the
lightweight men’s four in 2009, avenging the gastric
illness that prevented a different line-up from racing in
Beijing. And so the list of talents and potential London
2012 medallists for Germany could go on.