The afternoon's racing continued in the same vein as it had earlier in the day; hard and fast. Highlights of the last half of the championship races were the Quads and Eights.
The "Water Taxi" has been a favorite of a few countries over the years, and, as expected, this race early on was between the Romanians and Russia. With Ukraine nipping at the Russian's heels, however, it was Germany who clawed its way into the race, first into the bronze medal position, then into second, a length back from the Romanians, who were not going to let this one get away. Romania crossed the line first, followed by the Germans and the Ukraine, ahead of the spent Russians.
In the Junior Women's 2x, Russia proved that it understood perfectly the old adage that "you only need to lead for the last stroke." Spotting the highly favored Germans one second until the 1500 meter mark, the Russians timed their sprint to perfection and passed the Germans with 4 strokes to go in the race. Overjoyed with their bronze medal was the Italian crew.
The finish in this race was as comical as it was dramatic; the Croatians had paced their third 500 to perfection, breaking clear of the Germans and the Czech Republic to win; half a stroke past the line, the Croatian strokeman left his shell in a perfectly executed swan dive to meet a half dozen exuberant teammates who were swimming out to meet him. And while the Croatians collected gold medals at the pontoon, Germany's Martin Lange almost seamlessly stepped into the footsteps of his father, 3-time Olympic medalist in the Men's Single, Thomas Lange. Is there any room left on the Lange's mantelpiece for the next set of medals?
As has been the case for what seems like decades, Germany goes out in the women's quad, and the rest of the world arranges themselves for the remaining positions behind them. Today was slightly different--the Czech Republic got to the 500 mark exactly two one-hundreths of a second ahead of the German girls. After that, it was all over, as the Germans had moved out to open water by the 1500 meters, leaving Romania and the Czech Republic to fight it out for silver and bronze. Nearly even over the second half of the race, Romania pipped the Czechs by half a second to claim silver.
Traditionally, the Junior Men's quad is also the domain of Germany, but the French crew looked strong and led start to finish. Germany claimed the silver, ahead of an Italian boat that seemed to sleepwalk through the first 1500 in fifth place, then cranked it home for the bronze medal.
| Final 2001 JWC Medal Table |
| ||Gold||Silver||Bronze |
With their third Gold Medal on the day, all in Men's events, France jumped up the medal table. France also had the enviable record of winning a gold medal in every final it had qualified for.
Romania, who had put a lot of time and energy into the preparation of their Junior Men's and Women's eights, saw the first half of the Gold dividend as the Romanian girls broke up the Belarussian bid for the triple in JW2-, JW4- and 8+. Belarus, true to form, led the race for the first quarter, but then the doubling caught up to the BLR athletes as the fresher Romanian crew broke through, and held on to win by 2 seats, with Germany one length of open water back. The US hung tough in the first 500, but could not match the blistering pace set by the leaders, and finished 5th, a good four lengths off the pace.
In the last event of the day, Romania did claim there double, but the outcome hung in doubt for several minutes as the crew had to wait for the analysis of the photofinish--the young Russian eight had mounted an ungodly charge in the final 300 meters, but came up three-tenths short. Almost more impressive than the Russian surge, however, was the kick that the GB eight used to claim the bronze medal ahead of Germany. The top four crews finished within 2 seconds of each other. Italy and New Zealand rounded out the final.
Romania's gold medal in the JM8+ also vaulted the team to the top of the medal table, with four Gold Medals. Surprise runner-up was France, with 3 Golds, while Germany once again took the biggest haul, medalling in an astounding 12 of 14 events.
As the lowering sun cast lengthening shadows on the Wedau, FISA president Denis Oswald declared the championship "a great success," and you'd have a hard time finding many of the 700 rowers from 49 countries who would disagree.
We'll see you in Trakai, Lithuania, for the 2002 Junior Worlds.
Row2k would like to extend tremendous thanks to Verena Loch for helping out on site, and Ted Walkely, Marc Cates and others for contributing photos from the championships.