Mens' Double Scull (M2X)
2004 Athens Olympic Games
August 14-22, 2004
Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre
There have been lots of moves since last year to try to catch France's 2003 gold medalists in this event. Slovenia's fourth place crew last year is greatly enhanced by the return of Iztok Cop with Luka Spik in an attempt to defend their Olympic gold medal performance in this event in Sydney. Italy and the Czech Republic ( 2nd and 3rd in this event last year ) return intact and seem content to challenge with those combinations. Hungary's Haller, however, has lost his 2001-2002 gold medal partner, Peto, and arrives with a new partner this year. Finally, Germany has combined two gold medalist from their 2001 and 2002 quads to test the Schianas waters.
Final A Pre-Race Analysis
This may be one of the most hotly contested rowing finals at the Olympics, with the six finalists apparently within 3 seconds of each other over the course, and four of them less than 1 second apart in the semi-finals times. The experience and Athens performances so far of Italy and Slovenia favor both of them for the gold and silver medals, but not necessarily in that order, which is really a toss up. Both were Olympic Champions in Sydney in 2000 - the Italians in the quadruple sculls event and the Slovenia is this double sculls event. Italy may be a little faster than Slovenia in the early going, but Slovenia should cut into and virtually eliminate that lead in the middle 1000 meters. The Championship attitudes and pedigrees these men bring to the last 500 meters means neither will blink and gold and silver are just too close to call. If either of them falters or makes a mistake, watch out for France, last year's gold medalists at Worlds, and Estonia, who will be right there with 500 to go watching for the opportunity to sneak by Italy or Slovenia. The three medals should be spread somewhere among these four countries.
Previews and other commentary are © Copyright 2004. Kent Mitchell. All rights reserved.
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