Twenty-nine countries head home from the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, United States with World Championship medals.
In a week of great rowing conditions, over 900 athletes raced at the beautiful new rowing venue at Nathan Benderson Park. Italy left as the best overall nation. The Italians won nine medal three of them gold. Their gold medals came in the lightweight women's quadruple sculls, lightweight men's four and men's pair.
Since the retirement of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand, the men's pair has opened up and Giuseppe Vicino and Matteo Lodo of Italy stepped in to the gold medal position. Silver went to Croatia's brother-duo Martin and Valent Sinkovic with New Zealand's new combination of Thomas Murray and James Hunter taking bronze.
Coming in second overall on the medals table was New Zealand who won seven medals, three of them gold. The New Zealand gold medal success came in both the men's and women's double sculls and the women's pair. The men's double of John Storey and Chris Harris finished in front after a very tight final with Poland taking silver and Italy bronze.
"It's an insane boat class," Storey said after the race. "Every crew has stepped up into this field. Throughout the race, there was no settling in to a rhythm, we just stuck to our game plan and went for it at the end."
Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic is back in first place position with a win in the men's single sculls. Olympic bronze medallist and 2015 World Champion, Synek raced with precision to win over an accomplished field which included Cuba's Angel Fournier Rodriguez taking silver and Thomas Barras of Great Britain winning a surprising bronze. For the women's single sculls, Switzerland took its first ever World Champion title in this boat class when Jeannine Gmelin won gold. Silver went to Victoria Thornley of Great Britain and bronze to Austria's Magdalena Lobnig.
The women's eight was the most anticipated race of the regatta as the US women's eight 11-year winning streak was on the line in front of an energised home crowd. The winning streak ended at this regatta when Romania come through to gold with Canada taking silver and New Zealand winning bronze. The United States men's eight crew fared better as the young crew finished second against impressive competition that had the Rio silver medallists Germany taking first and Italy taking third.
A new World Best Time was set in the para PR1 men's single sculls as Australia's Erik Horrie finished first over Paralympic Champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine who took silver. Russia's Alexey Chuvashev won the bronze. Horrie's gold medal helped place Australia third on the overall medals table. The Australian team won six medals, three of them gold.
"It has been a fantastic week and congratulations to you, the athletes. You have inspired us and we are all very proud of you," FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland said at the close of the regatta. "To stage such a huge event requires a tremendous amount of work. Thank you to the organising committee. You have delivered a fantastic World Rowing Championships."