Racing for the 2017 World Championships begins on Sunday, September 24, in Sarasota, Florida. Below, we preview the M2x, W2x, LM2x, and LW2x events. Check out our additional previews of the single sculls, and pair events.
MEN'S DOUBLE SCULLS
ENTRIES - 21
THE FAVORITE – John Storey and Chris Harris of New Zealand are the favorites following their wins at both World Cup I and World Cup II.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – The Polish double of Mateusz Biskup and Miroslaw Zietarski have bounced between the double and the quad this year, winning the silver medal at the European Championships and at World Cup III in Lucerne. The winners of the European championship are the Italian double of Luca Rambaldi and Filippo Mondelli, who also won bronze in Lucerne.
The Lithuanian double of Mindaugas Griskonis and Saulius Ritter are the reigning Olympic silver medalists in the event, and should be a fast combination in Sarasota. So far in 2017, the duo won World Cup I, then Ritter hopped in the quad for Lucerne and won there. Then, there are the always dangerous Norwegians of Kjetil Borch and Olaf Tufte. They won the bronze in Rio last year and finished second in Poznan, so they should be a threat to reach the podium once again.
USA PROSPECTS – The USA men's double of Ben Davison and John Graves handily won trails in August and will make their debut together in the double in Sarasota. The scullers raced together in the 2016 USA M4x that just missed qualification for Rio at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. With a large, deep field they will have their work cut out for them if they want to make the A Final, but it's certainly within reach.
2016 OLYMPICS – The Sinkovic brothers from Croatia defeated Lithuania in a back and forth race to complete their quadrennial sweep of the men's double championships. Norway won the bronze.
NZL W2x of Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue
WOMEN'S DOUBLE SCULLS
ENTRIES - 15
THE FAVORITE – The New Zealand double of Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue will arrive in Florida as the gold medal favorites following wins at both World Cup II and World Cup III. This is a new doubles combination for the Kiwis and the first senior world championship regatta for both scullers.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – The French double of Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino and Helene Lefebvre pushed the Kiwi's in Lucerne and finished second. The Australian combo of Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey have had a strong start to 2017, winning bronze in Poznan and finishing fourth in Lucerne. Aldersey won a bronze medal in this event at the 2014 World Championships.
The Czech double won the European championships on their home water, but missed the A Final in Lucerne. The Chinese double should be strong, with two scullers from their quad that won bronze in Lucerne. Then, the Lithuanian double should be in the mix as well after finishing fifth in Lucerne. The crew is comprised of 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Milda Valciukaite, and 2016 U23 W1x champion Ieva Adomaviciute.
USA PROSPECTS – This will be the fifth consecutive year that Meghan O'Leary and Ellen Tomek will compete together as the American double. Their highest finish together has been sixth place in both 2014 and 2016. So far in 2017, they finished sixth place at World Cup III in Lucerne and will be looking to improve on that performance in Sarasota.
2016 OLYMPICS – The Polish double of Magdalena Fularczyk-Kozlowska and Natalia Madaj sprinted through the British double of Victoria Thornley and Katherine Grainger to win the gold. The Lithuanian double of Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite won the bronze.
The French LM2x of Houin and Azou
MEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT DOUBLE SCULLS
ENTRIES - 24
THE FAVORITE – The French double of Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin has been unstoppable and are the reigning Olympic champions. Azou himself has not lost an international race since the 2014 World Championship final, and that loss was by 0.09 seconds. In 2017, the duo has won gold at the European championship, World Cup II, and World Cup III.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – The Italian double of Pierto Ruta and Stefano Oppo have been the closest to the French, finishing second in Lucerne, and third at Europeans. The Polish and Belgian doubles have also shown speed this year and should contend for a medal finish in Sarasota.
One contender that's already been knocked out is the O'Donovan brothers from Ireland. The Olympic silver medalists last year have had to withdraw due to an illness sidelining Gary O'Donovan. Paul O'Donovan will race in the LM1x.
USA PROSPECTS – The USA double of Peter Schmidt and Chris Rogers raced and won trials unopposed and will compete in a deep field in Sarasota. The double had their first international race together at World Cup II, and finished in tenth place.
2016 OLYMPICS – Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin of France led at each 500m mark, and won a close race against Ireland and Norway.
Kiwi's McBride and Kiddle of the NZL LW2x
WOMEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT DOUBLE SCULLS
ENTRIES - 20
THE FAVORITE – The New Zealand double of Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle dominated in their first and only appearance together in 2017, winning World Cup III. McBride has won the last two world titles in the LW1x and Kiddle won the LW1x at World Cup II.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – The Chinese double of Pan and Chen won World Cup II and is a new crew that has yet to face the Kiwis. The Poles have had a very successful season, winning the European championship and World Cup I, and taking silver at both World Cup II and World Cup III.
The Swiss, Italian, and British doubles have also shown speed in their 2017 campaigns and could challenge for the podium in Florida. The Romanians are the current U23 LW2x champions.
USA PROSPECTS – The American combo of Michelle Sechser and Emily Schmeig will race their first international race together after winning trials. Sechser is no stranger to the event, racing in the double in both 2014 and 2015. Schmeig raced in the lightweight quad in 2016, finishing in fifth place. A solid showing for this crew would be winning a spot in the A Final.
2016 OLYMPICS – The Dutch double of Ilse Paulis and Maaike Head held off the hard charging Canadian double to win gold. China sprinted through South Africa to take the bronze.