Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
Germany’s strongest boats have historically been the women’s quadruple sculls and the men’s eight. Its eights tradition began under the coach Karl Adam, when it broke the US hegemony to win two gold medals and a silver between 1960 and 1968. Adam founded a rowing academy in the picturesque lakeside town of Ratzeburg. A quarter of the rowers from those eights crews came from Ratzeburg or one of two equally small towns nearby.
Germany reclaimed its eights glory with victory in 2012, and its crew featured Florian Mennigen from, where else, Ratzeburg. Its main rival in Rio could be Great Britain, and Team GB will also be attempting to win the men’s four title for the fifth Games in a row.
New Zealand is also emerging with the help of its competitive school rowing. Hamish Bond and Eric Murray are overwhelming favourites in the pair but Mahe Drysdale will face a tough opponent in Ondrej Synek of Croatia, in defence of his single sculls crown.
Next: From the calm lake to the choppy sea, which are the leading countries in sailing?