After New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands led the rowing medal count at the Tokyo Olympics, here’s what’s happened in the sport since then as the Paris Games approach. 

Single sculls: German, Dutch rowers stand on top

Karolien Florijn of the Netherlands won silver in Tokyo in the women’s four, but she has since made a dramatic switch. Florijn shifted to single sculls and has cruised ever since, winning three World Cups, two World Championships and two European Championships. This sets Florijn up as the Paris gold-medal favorite. Her top competitors have formed a strong field to challenge her: Dutchwoman Emma Twigg, U.S. star Kara Kohler and 2023 world bronze medalist Tara Rigney of Australia. 

On the men’s side, Oliver Zeidler of Germany has matched Florijn’s dominance. Zeidler won all three World Cups in 2023 and a third consecutive world title. He’s the heavy favorite for gold in Paris. 

Double sculls: Romanian, Dutch boats win world titles

Romania’s Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis won gold in Tokyo and have remained at the top of the discipline, winning two world titles since. U.S. pair Sophia Vitas and Kristi Wagner finished third at 2023 Worlds and have aimed to challenge the Romanians’ dominance alongside Lithuania’s Donata Karaliene and Dovile Rimkute, who finished second at Worlds. 

Dutch pair Melvin Twellaar and Stef Broenink won both a World Cup and the world title in 2023, unseating reigning Olympic champions Valent and Martin Sinkovic, Croatian brothers. Meanwhile, Irish pair Diare Lynch and Philip Doyle finished third at the 2023 World Championships and will challenge both the Dutch and Croatians in Paris. 

Four boats: U.S. men win silver, women’s field shakes up

Many women’s four competitors from the Tokyo Games have transitioned to other events, opening the door for fresh medalists. 

The Netherlands placed second at 2022 Worlds, but then won the 2023 title, after replacing all four members of its four boat. The Dutch enter Paris as defending world champions but will contend with a Great Britain boat that won the world title in 2022. Romania is another nation that has performed well in this event, finishing second at 2023 Worlds. 

The U.S. men’s four boat secured silver at 2023 Worlds and will vie for gold in Paris. The Americans will compete with the two-time reigning world champions in Great Britain, alongside defending Olympic champion Australia. 

Quadruple sculls: China unseated, Netherlands shines

China owned women’s quadruple sculls from 2019 to 2022, a dominant stretch that included a gold medal in Tokyo. But Great Britain and the Netherlands have since shot past the Chinese. China finished just third at 2023 Worlds, while Great Britain won the title, and Netherlands placed second. 

In the men’s quadruple sculls, the Netherlands bounced back as the 2023 world champion after a frustrating fourth place in 2022. Italy, Poland and Great Britain have also logged top-four finishes at Worlds in the years since Tokyo. 

Eight boats: Romania, Great Britain continue to roll

Romania won back-to-back world titles in 2022 and 2023 in the women’s eight, edging out strong Canadian and American boats. The U.S. had won three consecutive Olympic titles (2008, 2012, 2016) in this event but finished fourth in Tokyo. The Americans, however, have generated some momentum, earning silver at 2023 Worlds. 

Great Britain won both the 2022 and 2023 world titles in the men’s eight, just edging out the Netherlands and Australia. 

Lightweight double sculls: Great Britain, Ireland win at Worlds

After finishing just fourth in Tokyo, Great Britain’s Emily Craig and Imogen Grant have leapt ahead of the pack. The British duo won back-to-back world titles in 2022 and 2023. They have battled a strong U.S. pair, Mary Jones and Michelle Sechser, who took silver at 2023 Worlds. 

On the men’s side, Irish duo Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan have won three consecutive world titles after securing gold in Tokyo. The continued success has set the Irish up as gold medal favorites for the Paris Games.