Rio Olympics Day 1 Preview

by Jordan Wille August 05, 2016

The first three Canadian crews racing in Rio are the Women's Single, Lightweight Men's Four and the Men's Quad - here we will go through their competition, both in their heats, and for the regatta as a whole.


Women's Single

First up at 5:30am PT (or 8:30am ET), is the Women's Single. Crews racing are: Thailand, Peru, Canada, Egypt and Ireland.


In lane 1, racing for Thailand, Phuttharaksa Neegree is the 2nd most experienced rower in the deep Olympic field. While she had a stint as a lightweight rower, this is her 4th Olympic Games. Her best international result was 13th in 2005 and shouldn't be Carling's main competition in advancing.

For Peru is Camila Granados in lane 2. She has already set records by being the first Peruvian woman rower to qualify for the Games, let alone after only one session of racing on the international level. Granados raced mainly the Lightweight Women's Single, finishing 18th at the past World Cup. 

In lane 3 is Canada's Carling Zeeman. She has had a fantastic lead up to the Olympics winning a gold at World Cup #1 this year, beating out five-time Olympic medalist, Karsten Ekaterina (Belarus). Out of her heat, she should be able to advance to the quarter-final without much resistance.

In Lane 4 is Egypt, Heba Ahmed. Ahmed doesn't travel to every international regatta, but when she does, she makes an impact. Her top international finish is 10th, in 2009 in the Women's Double, right after racing at the Beijing Olympics. 

In Lane 5 is Ireland, Sanita Puspure. This is Carling's main competition for that top spot in the heat. At World Cup #1, Carling was able to get the better of Puspure; however, I would expect she is on top form for potentially an A-Final finish. We would expect the heat to be a race between Ireland and Canada for the top spot. 

Women's Single Overall: The top competitors for the Women's Single aren't in Carling's heat; however, she will face them as she moves forward. Top competition for the gold medal will come from Kim Brennan of Australia, Emma Twigg of New Zealand and Mirka Knapkova of Czech Republic. These three have been exchanging the gold medals at the World Championships since London 2012. Other notable contenders will be China, USA, Belarus, Denmark and Switzerland, who have all had impressive finishes in this quadrennial. 

Lightweight Men's Four

Next up at 8:00am PT (or 11:00am ET), is the Lightweight Men's Four. Crews racing are: Canada, New Zealand, USA and the Netherlands.


In lane 1 is Canada. This crew consists of Maxwell Lattimer, Brendan Hodge, Eric Woelfl and Nicolas Pratt. This crew has been picking up speed all quadrennial and is looking ready to peak here in Rio. Their toughest competitors in this heat will be in the lane right beside them...

In lane 2 is New Zealand. New Zealand has had a very successful run so far, swapping wins with Denmark for the last four years. New Zealand is certainly a favourite for a medal at these games.

Lane 3 is the USA. Winning the B-final at the last World Championships, they are a great boat for Canada to test their speed with, especially since they finished 3rd at their one World Cup appearance this season.

In lane 4 is the Netherlands. This is a crew of consistent speed, finishing in A-finals all across the board. While they often aren't in the medals, being in the A-final is enough to be a significant threat - if you doubt that, look at London 2012's gold medal Lightweight Four crew, South Africa.

Lightweight Men's Four Overall: Top crews in this event would definitely be Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, France and Great Britain. If Canada can stick with these crews, they will be in great standings come finals. In their heat, they need to come top 3 to move on to semi-final A/B, otherwise they must race a repechage (second chance) race to get in. 

Men's Quad

Next up at 8:30am PT (or 11:30am ET), is the Men's Quad. Crews racing are: Germany, Ukraine, Estonia, Canada and New Zealand.


In lane 1, Germany are the clear favourites for gold at this regatta - they've won this event more times than any other country. They are defending World and Olympic Champions for Rio, so they are not to be messed with; however, they are the exact crew you want to be racing with in the heat if you want to be racing for a medal.

Lane 2 is the Ukraine. Winners of the 2014 World Championships and current world's best time holders, they also are medal favourites for Rio; however, in 2015, they had troubles making the A-final. With up and down results, they are a bit of a wild card - all the can be certain is that when they are on, they are fast.

Estonia is racing lane 3 and are easily the most experienced crew in the event (racing 10 Olympics between all of them). While they have plenty of medals between them, they have often been tailing at the end of A-finals. While they are certainly a fast crew, we don't expect them to be leading the Olympic final.

The Canadians take up lane 4 and with a selection of promising results in the past two years, it seems that they are ready to peak just when it counts. The crew is made up of Julien Bahain, Rob Gibson, Pascal Lussier and Will Dean. With the experience of two Olympic medalists in the crew, Canada is certainly pushing to be amongst the best in Rio. 

In lane 5, New Zealand. This crew didn't expect to be in Rio after the Final Olympic Qualifier Regatta, but thanks to the disqualified Russian crews, they had now earned a spot. Due to this, New Zealand's goal is for an A-final finish.

Men's Quad Overall: Germany are the clear favourites for this regatta, however Australia, Estonia, Great Britain all have shown the speed to overtake them in the past. Other crews for Canada to keep an eye on include Poland, Ukraine and Switzerland, who have been posting some hot/cold results.

Jordan Wille
Jordan Wille


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