is our advantage”
This is a story with all the makings of a
Shakespearian play - sibling rivalry and
passion. Yet this is a story without tragedy.
Greek brothers Nikolaos and Apostolos
Gkountalous came together at the age of 14
to row and have since achieved success at the
World Rowing Under- 23 Championships in
2005 and 2006, winning silver medals in the
lightweight mens fours, and in 2007 when
they became Under- 23 World Champions.
As their senior career progressed, it became
clear the brothers were fastest in the pair,
In 2008, at the Rowing World Cup in Poznan,
Poland, the brothers won their first senior
international gold, in the lightweight pair. They
won the event again at the European Rowing
Championships that same year, and from that
moment on, their fate was sealed - the twin
brothers would row in the pair.
and the four. They have since won gold medals
at the European Championships and silver at the
2010 World Rowing Championships.
rowing and Apostolos started kayaking. In 2000,
when we were 14, we started rowing together.
World Rowing joined the brothers at the first
Samsung World Rowing Cup of 2011, in Munich
(GER), to discuss sibling rivalry, the speed of the
pair, technique and their dreams for the future,
both on and off the water.
WR: Why do you think you row so well together,
is it just because you are brothers?
Apostolos: As twin brothers we have the same
characteristics, in body and also in mind. Twins
rowing together are rather abundant in rowing.
Being together is our advantage, but we are also
quite strong individually.
Apostolos (r) and
Nikolaos Gkountoulas from
Greece pose at the 2011
Samsung World Rowing
World Cup in Munich,
What was less clear, however, was in which
weight category their strengths would truly lie.
The brothers made the extreme change from
lightweight to open weight in 2008 and haven’t
looked back since, swapping between the pair
World Rowing: When did you start rowing?
Nikolaos: We started at a watersport centre in a
small village in Greece in 1997, just for fun. I started
WR: Is there also rivalry in your boat?
Apostolos: When we are in good shape we >
Issue 17 – August 2011