Rowers go backwards. These folks go forward. Really — it’s the ICF slogan.
And we’ve had World Championships to consider in 2011, along with various World Cup competitions that served as Olympic qualification and warm-ups.
See the previous projections for more history.
Men’s C-1: Britain’s David Florence finished 14th at Worlds but has been in great form in 2012 and leads the rankings. France’s Tony Estanguet and Slovakia’s Michal Martikán have been dueling in this event for years and rank second and fourth, surrounded by their countrymen. They appear to have held off their rivals, including world champion Denis Gargaud Chanut, to qualify for the Games. Even if they hadn’t, France and Slovakia would be powerful. American Casey Eichfeld finished 19th in Worlds and won a long duel with Benn Fraker for the U.S. berth here. We’re not changing the projection: France, Slovakia, Britain
Men’s C-2: As with Slovakia and France in the C-1, just making the team for Slovakia or Britain in the C-2 is a challenge. Slovakians finished first and third in Worlds; British boats finished fourth and sixth. Slovakia’s Olympic and world champs, Pavol and Peter Hochschorner, made the cut. Britain did a neat trick and got two boats in the Games by combining their C-1 (David Florence) and K-1 (Richard Hounslow) into one boat. They’re the ones who finished fourth at Worlds, while Timothy Baillie and Etienne Stott finished sixth. France’s Pierre Labarelle and Nicolas Peschier, though, are the hot team this year, with a couple of German teams in the mix. Americans Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer have an outside shot at the final. Projection was SVK-CZE-GER; now Slovakia, Britain, France
Men’s K-1: France’s Etienne Daille wasn’t in the World Championships, but he has been the big winner in the World Cup this year, moving into second in the rankings behind Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer. Italy’s Daniele Molmenti was fourth in Worlds and ranks third ahead of a gaggle of Germans. The USA’s Scott Parsons is a likely top-20 finisher. Was ITA-SLO-GER; now Slovenia, Italy, France
Women’s K-1: Spain’s Maialen Chourraut is 2-for-3 in World Cups this year and finished third at Worlds. She ranks second behind Slovakia’s Jana Dukatova. She finished second at Worlds behind Austria’s Corinna Kuhnle, who’s ranked third. Those are your favorites, though the order’s tough to pick. The USA sends 20-year-old Davidson student Caroline Queen. Was SVK-AUT-GBR; now Slovakia, Austria, Spain
Men’s 200m C-1: Azerbaijan has become a world power at this new-ish sprint distance — Valentin Demyanenko won the world title, and Andriy Kraytor has won two of three World Cup races this year. Spain’s Alfonso Benavides, third at Worlds, won the other. Russia’s Ivan Skytl was second in Worlds and second at a World Cup stop. Germany and Lithuania have the other notable results. Was RUS-FRA-UKR; now Azerbaijan, Spain, Russia
Men’s 1,000m C-1: The World Championship medalists — Hungarian Olympic champion Attila Vajda, Spain’s David Cal, Uzbekistan’s Vadim Menkov — have been such non-factors in the World Cup this year that I had to check to make sure I was looking at the right event. Menkov, a double world champion, at least has a second and sixth in World Cup races. Germany’s Sebastian Brendel has a first and a second in Cup races. Canada’s Mark Oldershaw, fifth at Worlds, has a first, fourth and fifth. Russia’s Ilya Shtokalov won the other Cup race. Most of these folks have been in the mix for a while, so let’s leave it unchanged: Uzbekistan, Germany, Hungary
Men’s 1,000m C-2: German boats were 1-2 in Poznan, then 2-3 in Duisburg behind the Czech Republic. In Moscow, Russia went 1-2. Didn’t realize home water was such an advantage. Romania’s Alexandru Dumitrescu and Victor Mihalachi won the 2010 world title and finished third last year. Germany’s Stefan Holtz and Tomasz Wylenzek won the world title, followed by Azerbaijan’s Sergiy Bezugliy and Maksim Prokopenko. No compelling reason to think the winner won’t come from those four countries. Was ROM-BLR-HUN; now Germany, Romania, Azerbaijan
Men’s 200m K-1: Britain has a lot of reasons to think Ed McKeever can pull off a medal here. He won the world title in 2010, was second in 2011 behind Poland’s Piotr Siemionowski, and he won two World Cup events this year. Ecuador’s Cesar de Cesare won the other, finished second in another World Cup stop and finished seventh at Worlds. Germany’s Ronald Rauhe was third at Worlds and fourth in two World Cups. This is one of two sprint events with an American — Tim Hornsby. Was GER-GBR-POL; now Britain, Poland, Germany
Men’s 1,000m K-1: World champion Adam van Koeverden (Canada) spent each World Cup awards ceremony this year in a different spot on the podium — first, second, third. Denmark’s Rene Holten Poulsen won in Poznan; Belarus’s Aleh Yurenia won once and placed fourth in another. Was GER-BLR-GBR; now Canada, Belarus, Denmark
Men’s 200m K-2: France and Britain went 1-2 at Worlds and have been consistent podium finishers this year. The other spot is more difficult to predict, but Russia has one World Cup win away from home and another at a poorly attended World Cup stop in Moscow. Belarus finished third at Worlds with the pair that took bronze at 500 meters in 2008. Was ESP-FRA-GBR; now Britain, France, Russia
Men’s 1,000m K-2: Three World Cup wins for Germany at this distance. That makes up for fifth place in 2011, where Slovakia’s Peter Gelle and Erik Vicek won. Sweden has had some good results, including second at Worlds. Was GER-HUN-RUS; now Germany, Sweden, Slovakia
Men’s 1,000m K-4: Germany has the world title and a second place from one of the World Cup stops. The Czech Republic won two World Cup events, with Denmark on the podium at each. Australia placed second at Worlds. Russia finished third at Worlds and has some World Cup success this year. Was FRA-BLR-GER; now Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark
Women’s 200m K-1: World champion Lisa Carrington (New Zealand) turned up for a World Cup stop and finished second behind Hungary’s Natasa Douchev-Janics. World runner-up Marta Walczykiewicz (Poland) won another World Cup stop. Finland’s Jenni Mikkonen took the other. Ukraine vet Inna Osypenko-Radomska, third at Worlds, finished sixth at her World Cup appearance. Australia’s Alana Nicholls, fifth at Worlds, leads the World Cup in combined 200/500 through persistence, finishing no worse than fifth at all three stops. That doesn’t leave us much consistency from which to pick. Was HUN-UKR-JPN; now Poland, New Zealand, Australia
Women’s 500m K-1: At last, our other American — Olympic veteran Carrie Johnson, who nearly made the A final in Beijing. Ukraine’s Osypenko-Radomska won this event in 2008 and finished third in 2011 behind Germany’s Nicole Reinhardt and Hungary’s Danuta Kozak. Nicholls, as in the 200, finished fifth in 2011. Kozak has a World Cup win this year, as do Denmark’s Henriette Engel Hansen and Russia’s Vera Soboteva. Nicholls was second in two World Cup races. Reinhardt appears once, finishing third. Was HUN-UKR-GBR; now Ukraine, Germany, Hungary
Women’s 500m K-2: Germany took second at Worlds, finished 1-2 at the first World Cup stop, second at the second, then first and third at the third. Austria won the world title but hasn’t been close this year. Poland and Hungary were 3-4 at Worlds and have had some success this year. Was HUN-GER-RUS; now Germany, Poland, Hungary
Women’s 1,000m K-4: Always Germany — unless Hungary shows up. Hungary won Worlds; Germany dominated the World Cup in their absence. Belarus, Russia and Poland are in the mix for third. We’ll leave it unchanged: Hungary, Germany, Poland