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Digital Subscriptions > Row360 > Issue 013 - Sep | Oct 2016 > THE GAMES

THE GAMES

The Lagoa's eight days in the centre of the rowing world were made of weather warnings, FISA explanations, and grand panoramas of rough water. At times it felt as if Christ the Redeemer was directing the wind from his perch high above what will now be the most famous rowing lake in the world, as helicopters splashed the view onto global TV.

Swampings and flips on the opening Saturday were followed by an entire day of cancelled racing, while forecasts were sought from the sailors' expert meteorologists. Racing caught itself up by Tuesday evening, only to be blasted by more wind on Wednesday, which should have been the first day of finals.

And then, suddenly, the lake started to behave, and the medals could be awarded on the last three days of the rowing week. It was epic, it was spectacular; the racing was out of this world. And Row360 was there. Here are the best of the images as nineteen countries claimed glory at the Rio Olympics of 2016.

M1x MEN'S SINGLES

We will go a long time before the men's singles final of Rio 2016 is bettered, perhaps by any event. Defending champion, Kiwi Mahe Drysdale, said he was expecting a hand-to-hand fist fight, and he got one. Every sculler impressed at different times, including Cuba's Angel Fournier Rodriguez; however, it was the best three scullers in the world who again proved their quality.

Back issues or not, Croatian Damir Martin and Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic bolted off at above 50 strokes a minute and then settled at the head of the pack. Drysdale, sandwiched between them, looked in danger of being washed down, but as Martin and Synek eyeballed each other and went stroke for stroke, Drysdale was just biding his time. The Kiwi began to turn the screw at 800m gone, and Drysdale, by now level with Synek, begn to challenge properly. The rest – Belgium's Hannes Obreno, Belarussian Stanislau Scharbachenia and the Cuban – dropped back.

So far so standard, but just as one might have expected Martin to fade with 1250m gone, he held Drysdale's second push, as did Synek. The Kiwi wasn't having any of it, and turned the heat up another notch, belying his own spinal issues with the power he is known for. But Martin hadn't read the script. The Croatian bow surged again, so Martin banged the rate up above 40, and with 350m to go started closing on Drysdale, who went up again, and Martin followed, now rating 47 on a short slide, Synek was out of the picture and it was dead level between them with five metres to go.

Martin, who had more momentum, took one last pounding stroke and Drysdale, instinctively knowing he needed something special, took one and a half. He shortened and knocked in one extra catch, generating the surge that made Olympic history. The two crossed the line locked together in a photo-finish and nobody, not even the scullers, had the faintest idea who had won. The crowd bubbled with nervous energy as the scullers drifted, and the finish camera was consulted. Minutes passed, and more minutes. And then it was announced.

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About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, Paralympic, college, club, ocean, and more.
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