Regretting Life Choices?
Kitted out in a full panda suit on a hot sunny day in Belgrade? Could make you question a decision or two, for sure.
The panda was on site to help promote the Clean Water partnership between World Rowing and the World Wide Fund For Nature, despite the heat. You can see a few more photos of this panda "in the wild" (i.e. wandering around the venue) here and here.
In all, it was a good week for mascots at Worlds.
This guy turned up at the start line for the Spares racing:
And our friend, the Aussie kangaroo, even made it onto the podium:
The repeat podium in the Women's Single gave Emma Twigg and Tara Rigney a chance at do-over when it came to hoisting Karolien Florijn. Their first attempt, last year in Racice, did not go as well as this one:
Just before the ceremony, Rigney talked with row2k about the hug the three shared right after the race and they have become friends through racing at Worlds and events like The Gold Cup, and confessed: "Hopefully, we can lift Karolien up on our shoulders but not split her in half like last time; that was a bit awkward."
This attempt turned out better, and we do have to wonder if we'll see these three get a third go at it on the podium in Paris.
Flip Tests Galore
We saw a fair number of bobbles and flips in some of the singles races that decided the final Paralympic and Olympic spots on Sunday--some real qualifying carnage--plus one 1x medalist who flipped getting back in his boat after the victory ceremony:
And, of course, as we reported, the German LM2x flipped in their semi and had to climb back in to finish in hopes of staying in the hunt for an Olympic berth in the B Final:
Unfortunately, that berth ultimately eluded Tokyo silver medalist Jonathan Rommelmann and his new partner: they took fourth in that B final, where Mexico grabbed the 7th and final spot on offer in Belgrade.
Biggest USA fan in the stands, hands down:
Right to the Replay
The Dutch men's eight, who snapped up silver with their sprint, gathered around to watch the replay of their race before they even left the medal dock:
You can catch the replay of the M8 final for yourself here.
WorldRowing got into the replay game, too, posting a few "reaction" vids with athletes re-watching their races. Here is New Zealand's Thomas Mackintosh on holding off the Olympic champ, Stefanos Ntouskos, for bronze in the men's single:
The pre-Olympics Worlds is a good time to practice dealing with media attention:
Gotta Pump Up for Pictures
Give the US men's pair a few spare minutes before their photo with the 'Qualified for Paris' sign, and that's plenty of time to prime the biceps with a few push-ups:
Looks like the push-ups routine continued with the US men that stopped off to race the SH Netz Cup on the way home from Belgrade:
The SH Netz Cup galleries from last weekend also featured some coxswain erg racing:
...and lots of autograph signing:
Refs on Parade
Back in Belgrade, the week ended with the parade of referee launches, which has been an evolving tradition:
This year, the officials added in a cacophony of sirens from their megaphones, which may have been triggering for some folks...certainly a lot of flag-waving and horn-blowing is the worse nightmare of any rower with a quick start.
Nice family moment for Michael Grady, who won his first senior medal, a silver, in the USA men's four. Here is Grady 10 years ago in Trakai, likely with family in the stands - his parents were likely not that much older than Michael is now.
Photo Fun with Physics
The US had a solid representation at Worlds this year by ACRA athletes, from the college club team ranks:
In addition to Kevin Cardno, seen here repping Univ of Alabama-Huntsville on college uni day in the men's quad, we had an all-ACRA lineup in the LM2x with Virginia's Zach Heese and Delaware's Jimmy McCullough, plus William and Mary's Sophia Luwis (LW1x), San Diego State's Bernard Aparicio (LM4x), Grand Valley's Audrey Boersen (spare), and Sam Melvin (LM1x) started out as an Orange Coast 'Giant Killer' before transferring to Columbia.
Heese and McCullough told row2k they actually raced against each other at the Dad Vails one year, as stroke seats of the UVA and UD eights, and when asked about that ACRA background, Heese said:
"We built our resilience in the [collegiate] club rowing system. It's really helped us tough it out and perform no matter what's happening, because in club rowing, you get a wide spread of of preparation, results, and all that, so it's made us gritty and chippy."
"You don't have a lot of resources when you're a club program," added McCullough, "so it does make you tough."
World Class Good Luck Socks
Aussie Paralympian Erik Horrie raced in socks with his kid's photo on them:
As fate, and selection camps, would have it, all three of the athletes we interviewed for row2k's "What I Did for the COVID-19 Blip" feature back in the spring of 2022 were in Belgrade this year with their national teams: Will Lengenzowski in the US men's quad, Mary Mazzio-Manson in the US women's eight, and New Zealand Olympic champ Daniel Williamson, who was a spare this year as he rehabs a injury.
Here, Mazzio-Manson tosses her bouquet into the stands after winning her first senior medal with the US eight:
Boot Check? No Problem
From folks raking weeds, to the broom crew kids sweeping the docks, to the dive team up at the start, there's a village that makes these races happen for sure.
Tape Job of the Week
That prize goes to Italy's Gian Filippo Mirabile, silver medalist in the PR2 men's single:
...who was happy to show off his grip job for the camera.
See you in Paris.