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Digital Subscriptions > Row360 > Issue 21 – Jan | Feb 2018 > Ondřej Synek Ondřej The Giant

Ondřej Synek Ondřej The Giant

The single sculls event whets the appetite of spectators and rowers alike. No cox, no crew-mates — just you against the elements and your rivals, pushing yourself to the limit.
Photography ANTHONY BENOIT

The Czech hero of the men’s singles is Ondřej Synek, a 35-year-old powerhouse with a wide grin and even wider shoulders. His astonishing consistency, which has put him on the singles podium for a staggering 13 consecutive years, has also brought him a surprising amount of fame in a nation which barely knows what sculling is.

“Rowing is a small sport here but we are a small country so the successful person in every kind of sport is famous”, he says. “Now I’m the face of Lina chocolate cookies, my face is on the wrapper.” He does TV adverts, though the free cookies impress his kids (a girl of 7 and a boy of 5) more than the commercials. “When I go somewhere, to the cinema, to restaurants, a lot of people recognise me. Usually when I arrive everybody wants me to sign autographs and take pictures with them.” Anonymity is a precious occasional gift for Synek, who relishes the rare occasions when he can enjoy his evening in peace.

Photography BENEDICT TUFNELL
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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, adaptive, college, club, ocean, and more.
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