Rough Winds did Shake the Favorite Rowers at Rio

RioRings
Picture: FISA

8 August 2016

Göran R Buckhorn writes:

The Olympic rowing resumed today on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio after having been cancelled yesterday due to rough weather: high winds and a stormy sea made the course unrowable. You probably have seen the footage of the lane buoys bending, making each lane perfect for zigzag rowing, but as that is not an Olympic rowing discipline, the rowing competition on Sunday was first postponed and later totally cancelled for the day. Good move on FISA’s part. Of course, the safety of the rowers must come first, Olympic regatta or not.

The conditions on Saturday were also rugged to say the least. Reports say that the middle 1,000 metres were bad, really bad, and top-Olympians told the press that it was the worst conditions they had ever raced in, and some even said that they almost capsized – it is unheard of that an Olympic rowing event is actually raced in circumstances like these. 120 years ago, Poseidon stopped the rowing regatta at Port of Piraeus when the first modern Games were held in Athens (though HTBS’s Greg Denieffe has another take on the 1896 Olympic rowing event here). But that is not a jubilee to be upheld at these Games.

FISA allowed the first day of racing to continue, despite the weather and several of the small boats almost never made it over the course, getting their boats swamped by the hard-hitting waves. The Serbian crew Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik in the pair flipped in their heat and had to be rescued by a launch. Some experts were quick to state that the Serbian crew capsizing was caused by an open gate on one of the riggers, maybe not the terrible weather. Even though Vasic and Bedik never made it over the finish line in their heat, FISA allowed them to row in the repechage heat today. The Serbians came in second after the Dutch crew but before the Americans while the Spaniards were in the far rear, being kicked out of further advancement in the Olympic regatta.

On Sunday, Steve Redgrave told the BBC that the Rio Games were not ‘chosen on its rowing course. It would [be] very unlikely that FISA […] would have chosen this.’

The Monday Olympic rowing is now done and FISA/World Rowing is updating their race reports of today’s races, take a look here.

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