Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, Schinias National Park
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 21, 2004
All three medalists from the 2000 Olympic women’s single sculls tournament, champion Yekaterina Karsten of Belarus, runner-up Rumyana Neykova of Bulgaria, and bronze medalist Katrin Rutschow-Stomporowski of Germany journeyed to the 2004 Summer Olympics to vie for gold once more. Between them, they had won 15 of the last 16 World Championship medals in the event: Karsten was the 1999 champion, the 2002 runner-up, and the 2001 and 2003 bronze medalist, Rutschow-Stomporowski was the 2001 champion, the 1999 and 2003 runner-up, and the 2002 bronze medalist, and Neykova was the 2002 and 2003 champion and the 1999 bronze medalist. The only exception to this dominance was Russia’s Yuliya Levina, the 2001 runner-up, who was competing in the quadruple sculls in London, meaning that her nation was represented in the single sculls by Irina Fedotova instead. Karsten and Neykova had also won the 2001 and 2002 Princess Royal Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta respectively, with Rutschow-Stomporowski as the runner-up both times.
These three favorites all won their heats in the opening round, but it was the Czech Republic’s Mirka Knapková who posted the fastest time with an Olympic record. In the semi-finals, Rutschow-Stomporowski had the fastest time, defeating Knapková in the process, while Karsten won the other heat against Neykova, albeit by a margin of only 0.15 seconds. The final, however, was more spread out, and Rutschow-Stomporowski, Karsten, and Neykova finished with a little breathing room in that order, leaving the 2004 podium different from the 2000 one only in order. Knapková came in just over two seconds after Neykova, although over 6½ seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Sonia Waddell, the next finalist. It was perhaps a disappointment for the Czech sculler, but it would turn out to be an ephemeral one, as she would go on to win the World Championships in 2011 and an Olympic title in 2012.
|4||Mirka Knapková||23||Czech Republic||CZE|
|5||Sonia Waddell||31||New Zealand||NZL|
|9||Jennifer Devine||35||United States||USA|
|17||Chiang Chien-Ju||23||Chinese Taipei||TPE|
|20||Lee Yun-Hui||17||South Korea||KOR|