The rowers of lightweight men’s double sculls will race in the final of the London 2012 Olympic Games rowing regatta and they will certainly challenge stereotypes of what rowers are like. At an average of 70kg, you may think the power that they can produce is a lot lower than their heavyweight teammates. But prepare to be on the edge of your seat at 12.10 (GMT) on Saturday 4 August, 2012. The lightweight men’s double is an event that guarantees fast, tight racing with medals being won by the smallest of margins.

At a crew average of 70kg (up to a maximum of 72.5kg), the rowers of the lightweight men’s double are limited in ‘what they have to play with.’ Every ounce is precious and this is a large part of the reason that races are won by so little.

So, if the margins are always so tight, what is it that gives one crew the edge over the other? Denmark’s 2008 Olympic  bronze medallist Rasmus Quist says the winning ingredient is similarity of rhythm. “You can really see when a crew is rowing well together they are fast, even if they are not that strong. You can put the two strongest guys in the boat together and it won’t go that fast. The rhythm is very important for us. You can put all the effort and power in, but without rhythm it won’t work.”

Every facet of the lightweight men’s double needs to work in harmony, there is no room for error. The dynamics between the athletes plays a major part in creating speed. Stroke of the New Zealand lightweight double, Peter Taylor puts much of why his boat with Storm Uru moves so fast down to their shared goals. “We are both driven and will let nothing get in our way of achieving our goals,” Taylor says, “so basically we share the same drive, ambition, goals, we’re fiercely competitive and go about these goals the same way.”

So, what else does it take? Lars Hartig of the young German duo has a balanced approach. “Well,” he says, “we trained very hard during the entire year and gave our best. Apart from that it is important for us to have fun. I think, once you are having fun the boat runs automatically smoothly.”