Biggest GB rowing Olympic contingent since 1992
Games in Beijing – the largest TeamGB contingent since 1992 and
reflective of the nation’s recent increased strength in depth in this
traditionally strong sport for Britain at the Games.
GB has also qualified a men’s pair for the Games with the names for
this boat to be announced in the next few weeks, bringing the overall
total to 43 rowers in 12 boats.
Amongst GB’s potential medal contenders will be the reigning world
champions in the women’s quadruple scull as well as the men’s four who
were world champions in 2005 and 2006.
Britain also has chances to succeed through the crews who have won
world cup gold this year – the men’s single, double, eight and
lightweight double as well as the women’s double – and its 2007 world
champion lightweight men’s four.
The squad won seven Olympic class medals at last year’s World
Championships but has had an injury-disrupted build-up to the Games
"The Olympic Games bring out the best in every athlete whatever the
sport", said GB Performance Director David Tanner. "Everyone will be
trying to peak at the right time on the right day, including the
Chinese hosts who have emerged in the last four years to be a
formidable force in our sport. We go to Beijing confident but aware of
the size of the task ahead".
Steve Williams (gold), Frances Houghton, Debbie Flood, Katherine
Grainger (silver), Sarah Winckless and Elise Laverick (bronze) are the
returning Athens 2004 medallists in the squad.
The youngest athlete is Tom Lucy, aged 20, and Sarah Winckless is the oldest, aged 34.
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CREW BY CREW
GB Rowing’s women’s quadruple scull has had a remarkable four years
since Athens where GB won silver. In 2005 the newly-formed crew, after
the retirement of Alison Mowbray,
disrupted a long-term German dominance of this event to take the world title in Gifu, Japan.
The quartet – then formed of Katherine Grainger, Sarah Winckless,
Frances Houghton and Rebecca Romero – went on to race on home water at
the Eton world championships, this time with Debbie Flood as a
replacement for Romero. GB were devastated to come second to Russia
but were later elevated to world champion status once more after a
Russian crew member was found to have earlier tested positive for a
In 2007 the World Championships moved onto Munich where Annie Vernon, a
graduate of the sport’s own talent development scheme, came into the
crew in lieu of Winckless. They dominated their final from the outset
against opposition from Germany and China to take the gold.
For all four women this is an opportunity to make history. "I’ve made
no secret that the Olympic gold is the missing one from the set", said
Grainger recently. "That’s the one we want". Britain has never won an
Olympic gold in a women’s rowing event.
GB Rowing’s men’s four, an event in which GB is the defending Olympic
gold medallist, were also world champions in 2005 and 2006. For a
remarkable 27-race run they were unbeaten in this event until the final
of the World Championships in Munich last year where they finished
fourth. This year there has been a degree of upheaval through injury
to the season’s chosen line-up of Tom James, Steve Williams, Peter Reed
and Andy Triggs Hodge. The crew came together finally for the season’s
last world cup in Poznan, Poland, last weekend where they won silver
and showed they are back on track for Beijing. Earlier they won world
cup gold in Munich, with Tom Lucy replacing Tom James and were eighth
in Lucerne when Triggs Hodge was also injured.
Steve Rowbotham and Matt Wells, the GB selections in the open men’s
double scull, were world cup winners and silver medallists at Munich
and Lucerne this year respectively before missing last weekend’s world
cup as a precaution because of a slight injury to Rowbotham. Over the
past four years – which has included a World Championships bronze medal
at Eton in 2006 – this duo has been consistent world cup medal winners.
Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter are their equivalents in the lightweight
men’s double scull. They began the 2008 season as bronze medallists
from the 2007 World Championships and as twice silver medallists in the
2007 world cup. They ended the 2008 season as winners of the world cup
series after an unbeaten run which included a thrilling victory against
the 2008 world champions from Denmark in Poznan last weekend.
This duo has gelled in the two years since the Eton World Championships
in 2006 – at which Hunter narrowly missed out on the lightweight double
scull final with James Lindsay-Fynn whilst Purchase took gold in the
non-Olympic lightweight men’s single scull.
James Clarke, James Lindsay-Fynn, Paul Mattick and Richard Chambers
came together as the GB lightweight men’s four for the first season in
2007. In that year they underlined their immediate potential by taking
a full set of world cup medals – bronze in Linz, silver in Amsterdam
and gold in Lucerne – before going on to become world champions in
This season they won silver in Munich but have been at the back of the
field in the two subsequent finals and still have to regain their 2007
Alan Campbell, part of the GB men’s quadruple scull four years ago in
Athens and a world cup medal winner in this same boat in 2005, has
since moved to the men’s single scull to some considerable effect. In
his debut year of 2006 he took the world cup title overall and in 2007
he won two world cup silvers before taking fourth place in the World
Championships final. This year Campbell began his world cup campaign
with gold but was fourth in Lucerne after which he picked up an
infection which kept him out of the final world cup last weekend in
GB won women’s double scull bronze in Athens four years ago through
Elise Laverick and Sarah Winckless. In 2005 Laverick teamed up with
Debbie Flood because Winckless had moved into the quadruple scull. They
won world cup bronze and were fifth at the World Championships. At the
Eton 2006 World Championships Anna Bebington and Annie Vernon came
together in this boat class to take fourth place, after world cup gold
and silver earlier that year.
For the Munich World Championships last year Bebington teamed up with
Laverick to take bronze after an injury-interrupted season for
Bebington. This year, after differing GB combinations, Bebington and
Laverick are once more the chosen duo. They have been building up their
performance over the past two world cups and took a strong gold in
Poznan at the weekend – Laverick’s career first world cup gold.
The Great Britain men’s eight has seen several transformations over the
course of the past four years, reaching a high point in 2007, taking
World Championships bronze. This year the crew has featured Alex
Partridge, world champion in the men’s four in 2005 and 2006, as well
as Matthew Langridge and Colin Smith, winners of World Championships
bronze last year in the men’s pair.
Both Alastair Heathcote and Colin Smith have been in the stroke seat
this year for different regattas. Former world champion Josh West, Tom
Stallard, former world coxed four gold medallist, and Rick Egington,
who made his international senior debut in 2003, have consistently been
amongst the members of this crew which is coxed by Acer Nethercott.
The GB eight were in good form last weekend and took gold in the world cup at Poznan with a strong performance to beat Germany.
GB Rowing has yet to name the athletes for the pair in Beijing whilst final fine-tuning is being undertaken.
In Athens four years ago the men’s eight were ninth and the men’s pair
were seventh. At the season’s final world cup Tom Solesbury and Robin
Bourne-Taylor formed a pair. Last season the men’s pair of Colin Smith
and Matt Langridge were World Championships bronze medallists in a race
style characterised by second half storming sprints from the back of
The GB women’s eight were also bronze medallists at the 2007 World
Championships in Munich after a year of highs and lows. Formation of a
women’s eight for the 2005 season marked the introduction of a number
of new names to the senior squad who have since become regular
Carla Ashford , Alison Knowles, Natasha Howard and former world U23
medallist Jess Eddie are amongst these athletes. Natasha Page and Beth
Rodford were part of a GB women’s pair in 2007 but have since returned
to the eight and Katie Greves moved latterly into the stroke seat of
this crew which is coxed by former teacher Caroline O’Connor. The eight
received a boost to their Olympic preparation at the weekend by winning
world cup bronze in Poznan.
Louisa Reeve and Olivia Whitlam – the latter being another graduate,
like Annie Vernon, of the sport’s own talent identification and
development scheme called World Class Start – qualified the women’s
pair for Beijing via the final Olympic Qualifying Regatta in Poznan,
Poland, in the past 10 days. Reeve was previously part of the women’s
eight and Whitlam was the world U23 women’s pair champion in 2007.
The pair raised their game to qualify in dramatic style in the final in
Poznan and were described has having "rowed out of their skins".
Helen Casey and Hester Goodsell have won seats in the lightweight
women’s double scull after a season of trialling and testing in this
lone women’s lightweight Olympic class with different combinations
racing at various world cups. Casey was part of this crew at the 2004
Olympic Games with Tracy Langlands. The duo were ninth at the Olympic
Games of 2004, having earlier won GB’s first World Championships medal
in this class with bronze in 2002.
TeamGB has also been allocated five places for rowing "alternates" or
reserves in Beijing and will take two men and two women in the open
classes and one lightweight man.
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Rowing is one of Britain’s most successful Olympic sports, having won 22 golds, 18 silvers and 8 bronzes at the Olympic Games.
The greatest British Olympian of all time, Sir Steve Redgrave, won five
Olympic gold medals in successive Games for GB between 1984 (Los
Angeles) and 2000 (Sydney) – an unprecedented
feat in an endurance sport.
Rowing made its Olympic debut in 1900, although only bad weather on the
course at the 1896 Games prevented rowing from featuring at the very
first Games. Women’s rowing was introduced at the 1984 Games in Los
At the 2008 Olympic Games, GB will be defending one Olympic title: the
men’s four, which took gold in stunning fashion by beating the, then,
world champions, Canada, by just 0.08 seconds in the final. In Athens,
GB also won two silver medals, in the women’s quadruple scull and
women’s pair, and a bronze medal, in the women’s double scull.
GB’s best rowing gold haul came at the 1908 Olympic Games with four
golds in total – and eight medals in all, still a record haul.
Top Ten Largest GB Rowing squads at the Olympic Games
(From 1996 onwards entries by nation have been capped
by IOC quota)
46 – Barcelona, 1992
43 – Moscow, 1980
43 – Beijing, 2008
42 – LA, 1984
38 – Sydney, 2000
36 – Athens, 2004
35 – Atlanta 1996
31 – Montreal, 1976; Seoul, 1988
30 – London, 1908
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BEIJING RACING TIMETABLE
Saturday 9 & Sunday 10
Monday 11 & Tuesday 12
Wednesday 13 & Thursday 14
The provisional schedule of A and B finals is as follows:
Saturday 16 August:
A-finals of W1x, M1x, W2-, M2-, W2x, M2x, M4-
B-finals of LW2x, LM2x, LM4-, W4x, M4x W8+, M8+
Sunday 17 August:
A-finals of LW2x, LM2x, LM4-, W4x, M4x, W8+, M8+
Please note: the schedule could be subject to change
nearer the Games.
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TEAMGB CREW LISTS
Olympic Games 2008, Beijing
(with clubs/home towns/dates of birth)
Eight and Alternate* plus cox to be selected from:
Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes BC/Northallerton/13.03.79)
Jess Eddie (Uni of London/Durham/07.10.84)
Alice Freeman (Wallingford RC/Oxford/6.9.78)
Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)
Natasha Howard (Tideway Scullers/West Runton/3.9.80)
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/ Bournemouth/27.3.82)
Natasha Page (Reading Uni/Hartpury/30.04.85)
Beth Rodford (Thames RC/Burton-on-Trent/ 28.12.82)
Sarah Winckless (Walbrook & Royal/Henley/18.10.73)
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)
Coach: John Keogh
Louisa Reeve (Leander/London/16.05.84)/
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft/Warrington 16.09.85)
Coach: John Keogh
Annie Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/Debbie Flood
(Leander Club/Leeds/27.02.80)/Frances Houghton
(Tyrian Club (Uni of London)/Oxford/19.09.80)/Katherine
Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)
Coach: Paul Thompson
Elise Laverick (Thames RC/Poling, W.Sussex/27.07.75)/
Anna Bebington (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.2.83)
Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas
Tina Stiller (Nottingham RC/Yarm, N.Yorks/23.6.87)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Tom Stallard (Leander/Welwyn, Herts/11.09.78)/
Tom Lucy (Oxford Brookes/Monmouth/01.05.88)/
Richard Egington (Leander/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Josh West (Leander/Santa Fe, USA/25.03.77)/
Alastair Heathcote (Army RC/London/18.8.77)/
Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/
Colin Smith (Leander/Henley on Thames/23.09.83)/
Acer Nethercott (University College Oxford BC/Harlow/28.11.77)
Coaches: Mark Banks, John West
Pair and alternates*
To be announced at a later date
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/9.5.83)
Coach: Bill Barry
Matt Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.4.79)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)
Coach: Mark Earnshaw
Helen Casey (Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.02.74)/
Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni/Cambridge/27.06.84)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Richard Chambers (Oxford Brookes/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
James Lindsay-Fynn (London/Trim/29.09.75)/Paul Mattick
(Wallingford/Oxford/25.04.78)/James Clarke (London RC/
Coach: Robin Williams
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury, Glos/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)
Coach: Darren Whiter
Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.1985)
ACCREDITED TEAM OFFICIALS
Jurgen Grobler, Paul Thompson
Miles Forbes-Thomas, John Keogh, Robin Williams, Darren Whiter,
Rob Morgan, Bill Barry, Mark Earnshaw, Mark Banks, John West,
Maggie Netto, Maurice Hayes.
Ali Sanders, Mark Edgar
ADDITIONAL TRAVELLING STAFF
All medical/sports science:
Pam Gardner, Gill Edmonson, Ryan Bathurst, Al Smith, Mark Homer,
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GB Rowing website www.gbrowing.org.uk – full biogs available
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