Golden Blades Of St. Petersburg

After some days of Indian Summer, we seem to have many gloomy days ahead of us here in New England. This makes me look back at the summer and some of the wonderful rowing races and regattas. One of the great events that I neglected to write about or even mention on HTBS, was the Russian ‘Golden Blades of St. Petersburg’. These 250-metre sprint races on 12 June, 2011, in the centre of the beautiful city, had several international athletes present.

The competitors were rowing in match races, ‘Henley style’, to be able to come up with the two finalists who were rowing for a ‘cup’. The Swede, Frida Svensson, who then was the reigning World Champion in the single sculls, won the Princess Olga Cup by beating the Czech sculler Mirka Knapkova, who later became the World Champion in Bled. The final in the men’s single sculls became an all-Russian affair, where Kleshnev, who had overpowered Mahe Drysdale on his way to the final, defeated Mikhail Fedorov to claim the Peter the Great Cup.

In the men’s eights, St. Petersburg surprisingly overcame Germany in the final. The women’s final was won by the Netherlands ahead of Canada. Hamburg University won the University women’s eights, while St. Petersburg University won the University men’s eights.

The wonderful video on top shows this event conducted under blue skies. It looks lovely, and it seems to have been a successful regatta as it is coming back next summer. Personally, I think that sprint regattas are great events, and if done the ‘Henley style’, with only two boats abreast, they can be raced on rivers and canals in towns and city centres where it is easy for spectators to gather to see world stars competing against each other. The short distance of a ‘sprint’ does not allow the athletes to do any mistakes on the water. I think it is a good way to popularize rowing.

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