Going to Olympics number four is Andrew T Hodge who moved from the London 2012 and Beijing 2008 winning men’s four into the men’s eight. The British men’s eight has won every World Championship title in this Olympic cycle but two weeks ago they missed the podium at World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland.
For Rio the men’s four will be the flagship crew. Alex Gregory is the sole remaining member from the crew that took gold in London. Joining Gregory are two members of the London Olympic bronze medal men’s eight – Mohamed Sbihi and Constantine Louloudis and London Olympic bronze medallist from the men’s pair, George Nash. Great Britain has won every Olympic men’s four since Sydney 2000, pinning the legacy of Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell to this boat.
It was no surprise to see Heather Stanning and Helen Glover’s selection for the women’s pair. The defending Olympic Champions, Stanning and Glover have not lost a race together since the 2012 Olympics.
The big surprise was to see the omission of Katherine Grainger from the list. Four-time Olympian and Olympic gold medallist, Grainger qualified the women’s double sculls last year with Vicky Thornley. This year the duo posted results below expectation and after a fourth-place finish at the European Rowing Championships in May it was announced that the duo may not continue. Grainger and Thornley got a chance to trial for the women’s eight, but missed out on making the cut. Neither Grainger nor Thornley’s name appear on the Rio team list.
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Despite this apparent omission, British high performance manager, David Tanner stated in the Bucks Free Press, “It is my confident intention very soon to be announcing those two back in their double and racing for Team GB at the Rio Games.”
The women’s eight has stepped up this season and are the current European Champions. The Olympic crew will feature a mix of youth and experience with the mantel of most experienced going to Frances Houghton. This will be Houghton’s, 35, fifth Olympic Games.
Olympic Champion from London 2012, Katherine Copeland is back in the lightweight women’s double Sculls, this time with a new partner – Charlotte Taylor. The duo qualified the lightweight double at last year’s World Rowing Championships where they finished second. This season, however, has been a little rocky with the duo finishing in the b-final at the European Rowing Championships.
The men’s eight and men’s pair remain as a 12-person squad with the two boat line-ups to be named nearer to the Rio Games. At World Rowing Cup III in Poznan next week, two pairs will race each other to help decide the final Olympic boat.
Great Britain has qualified 12 boats out of a possible 14 for the Rio Olympics.
Men’s Single Sculls
Men’s Pair, Eight and 2 Spares from:
Andrew T Hodge
Phelan Hill (coxswain)