Rowing sees return of old names in new boats for Tokyo Games
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO: New Zealand’s Mahé Drysdale defended his single sculls gold medal in a photo-finish duel with Croatia’s Damir Martin. Great Britain topped the medal count with five, including three gold.
WHAT’S NEW: In a move for gender equity, the women’s coxless four replaces the men’s lightweight coxless four.
TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: Some dominant names return in new disciplines, and some have even come out of retirement for the pandemic-delayed Games. New Zealand is the likely favorite in the women’s eight, an event long dominated by the U.S. China is making a big push for a medal at the Games hosted by its Asia rival and had big performance at the 2019 world championships. China hired former British rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave as performance director with the goal of winning its second rowing gold medal. The rowing venue is the Sea Forest Waterway on Tokyo Bay.
ATHLETES TO WATCH: Germany’s Oliver Zeidler is the reigning world and European champion in single sculls ... Croatian brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic won gold in double sculls in 2016, then switched to the men’s pair and won the 2019 world championship ... Great Britain’s Helen Glover, a two-time gold medalist in the women’s pair, had all but retired after Rio and had three children, only to announce a comeback at age 34. She won the European championship with teammate Polly Swann in May ... The U.S. women’s eight is the three-time defending gold medal champion, but finished third in the 2019 world championships won by New Zealand, and has just one rower with Olympic experience in the current boat.
GOLD MEDAL MOMENT(S): July 27, quadruple sculls; July 28 double sculls and sweep four; July 29, lightweight double sculls and sweep pair; July 30, single sculls and sweep eight.