|Harvard training on the Charles (Screen capture)|
This week, we're kicking off 2016 with a look back at last fall, through the eyes of lightweight rowers at Harvard and Columbia.
The below videos offer some top tunes, plus an insider's view of training with the Crimson and with the Lions, both of whom finished the year strong last season and will be looking to build on that momentum heading into sprint racing season.
Last year, Cornell made it two seasons in a row without a loss (on U.S. soil, at least), and appear to be firing on all cylinders once again heading into 2016, having performed very well in the fall, earning them the no. 1 seed in the RR 2015 Fall Power Rankings. Columbia hasn't been far off, however, and Harvard also showed up on the biggest stage last season, taking bronze at IRAs—both will be crews to watch throughout the spring.
Unfortunately, no matter how fast these lightweight eights prove to be in the coming months, male lightweight athletes will have fewer opportunities to race at the world championships going forward, as after several years of low entry numbers, FISA recently decided to do away with the lightweight men's eight. It's a shame in many ways, because some of the most exciting racing at any World Rowing Championships is always provided by lightweight events—indeed, this year's lightweight men's eight final saw the entire field finish within roughly one length, with second, third, and fourth places separated by just 0.11 of a second.
Still, if entries are consistently low (three in 2013, five in 2014, and five in 2015), the decision makes sense on FISA's part—according to the rules cited in the article linked above, if an event has fewer than seven entries for three straight years, it is automatically removed from the racing program. It would be great, however, to see another lightweight event added to the program (maybe it's time for a lightweight women's four again?) to take its place, if it cannot be reinstated.
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