The 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria saw new World Champions crowned from across the continents with 28 countries overall taking home medals.
In a week of late summer warm weather and fast rowing conditions, the United States won the most number of medals with a total of ten, three of them gold. This is the best medal count for the United States in 16 years.
Part of the US medal haul was gold medal success in the women’s eight. After a ten-year World Championship winning streak, the United States lost the title in 2017. These World Championships saw the US return he eight to the top spot. This came after a tight race where Canada took silver and Australia bronze. The United States showed women’s sweep rowing dominance by also winning the women’s four. The four is a new Olympic boat class and already the competition is fierce as countries build their crews ready for its debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
At the top of the overall ranking was Italy with three gold medals. This included gold in the men’s quadruple sculls which is the first World Championship title in the quad for Italy since 1998. The race saw the World Champions, Lithuania relegated out of medal contention with Australia and Ukraine taking silver and bronze respectively.
Ireland had its most successful World Championships ever when they picked up two gold medals and their first golds in Olympic boat classes. This happened first in the lightweight men’s double sculls when the O’Donovan brothers won the race. Then the second gold came in the blue ribband event, the women’s single sculls with Sanita Puspure beating the reigning World Champion, Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland to the line. Gmelin took silver and bronze went to Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig.
In the highly anticipated men’s single sculls the reigning European Champion, Kjetil Borch of Norway rowed a fantastic race leading from start to finish to take his first ever World Championship title in the single. Borch pushed the World Champion, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic into second with Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis sprinting through to a bronze in the close of the race.
In the para-rowing boat classes new World Best Times were set with the most impressive being in the para PR1 men’s and women’s single sculls. In successfully defending his World Championship title, Erik Horrie of Australia set a new World Best Time. The defending World Champion in the women’s single, Birgit Skarstein of Norway did the same and not only set a World Best Time, but also completely dominated the final.
At the start of the week Jason Osborne of Germany set a World Best Time in the lightweight men’s single sculls during the heats. Osborne went on to win the final of the lightweight single ahead of Michael Schmid of Switzerland.
The German men’s eight closed the Championships by successfully defending their World Championship title. In a tightly fought final, the Germans held off challenges from the United States, Great Britain and Australia to win the gold. Australia finished just ahead of Great Britain to claim the silver.