The SLRacing crew has now touched back down in New Zealand after a phenomenal time over in Rio supporting every rower and athlete competing. As always, there was a real mixture of jubilation and heartache this time around, particularly on the rowing course, as New Zealand Rowing did incredibly well, but didn’t quite hit the targets they had set themselves.
We threw our picks into the mix before the regatta and it's only fair we go back and give a recap on how we did. Below are what we picked, and what actually happened – with 1 point for putting a crew as an ‘outside chance’ in our picks, 2 points given for correctly choosing a crew in the medals, and 3 points for correctly choosing the right medal.
LWM2x (5 points)
Final result: France, Ireland, Norway
Our picks: France, Norway, South Africa
We got the winner, but the big surprise here was Ireland. They rowed a fantastic regatta, and an inside word we heard on the course was that their last training block had them rowing phenomenal km's and pushing their bodies far harder than most athletes would be able to.
LWM4- (5 points)
Final result: Switzerland, Denmark, France
Our picks: NZ, Switzerland, Denmark
New Zealand dropping down the placings cost our picks here. The entire order shuffled up and the Swiss (coached by kiwi Ian Wright) showed their class.
M1x (5 points)
Final result: NZ, Croatia, Czech Republic
Our picks: NZ, Czech Republic, Cuba
A bold pick by us to choose Cuba over the strong Croatian meant we didn’t quite nail this podium. How about that finish though?!
M2- (3 points)
NZL, South Africa, Italy
NZ, GB, Australia
Well we got the winner right, but who didn’t?! A dominant display yet again from Bond and Murray. Italy and South Africa held off the chasing pack for the minor medals.
M2x (5 points)
Croatia, Lithunia, Norway
Croatia, NZ, Lithunia
Another NZ crew not making the podium meant our picks were off for the men's double. Croatia were typically dominant, although for a few strokes there we thought the Lithunian’s might take them. If the kiwis had made the final, who knows how it could have gone.
M4- (7 points)
Great Britain, Australia, Italy
GB, Australia, (Italy/Netherlands)
Our best result – picking all the winners but being too cautious with the bronze medal pick to take home all the points!
M4x (3 points)
Germany, Australia, Estonia
Australia, Canada, (GB, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, NZ)
The tightness of the M4x field really shows in that we picked 7 different boats we thought might make the podium and still didn’t get it right with Estonia taking home bronze.
M8+ (5 points)
Great Britain, Germany, Nederlands
Germany, Netherlands, USA (GB)
What can we say here – Great Britain showed some class and completely debunked our fourth place pick for them. The Germans and the Dutch pulled through though, so we at least get a few points.
LW2x (5 points)
Nederlands, Canada, China
NZ, Canada, Netherlands
The Nathan Cohen coached Chinese crew zipped up to take bronze, keeping the kiwi lighty double out of the mix, but other than that we weren’t far off. The smart money was probably on the Netherlands after they qualified, but sometimes you just have to make that risky pick!
W1x (2 points)
Australia, USA, China
NZ, Australia, Czech
Being over in Rio with Emma Twigg’s support crew, this was one of the hardest results to stomach. A strong tailwind meant the shorter race (time wise) suited China, the USA and Australia, and ET just ran out of water to reel them in. The class of Mirka Knapkova didn’t even make the A-final, so only a lowly 2 points for us in the women's single.
W2- (6 points)
Great Britain, NZ, Denmark
GB, NZ, USA
The womens pair almost went to script with the dominant GB crew taking out gold and the NZ crew chasing them hard. We hadn’t even noticed Denmark going into the regatta, but right from the heats they proved to be a hot contender and took out the bronze over the more favoured American crew.
W2x (2 points)
Poland, Great Britain, Lithunia
Lithunia, NZ, Greece
Unlike the women's single, the women's double results were helped out by the first decent headwind in a final all season. The strength of Great Britain really showed, while the Greek crew with an ex-lightweight in it struggled into the breeze. Again, if NZ had made the final, it could have been all on.
W4x (5 points)
Germany, Nederlands, Poland
Germany, Poland, Austria
Not far off getting these picks right, we were amazed at the tightness of the racing. Germany were really pushed and the Netherlands raced a fantastic race.
W8+ (3 points)
USA, Germany, Romania
NZ, USA, Canada
A little bit of over-patriotism in our camp had us pick the kiwi girls for gold in the women's 8. That wasn’t to be, as they struggled to fight for the podium and perhaps a condensed schedule hurt their chances with two top rowers doubling up in the pair.
Overall, that left us with a score of 61 out of a possible 126. If this was an exam, we would have failed with only 48% of our picks correct! It really does go to show just how tough the Olympics are, and how close all the top crews in the world can be on any given day. In 2020 we might have to create a picking game and extend it out to the public so you can see just how much better than us you are at predictions.
For now, we’ll stick to boat building!