I traveled to Monte Carlo to do my first race since becoming World Champion and also my first race since my 2nd heart operation. I won the event last year, so this year I wanted to defend my title
The event had assembled a pretty decent field. Seven rowers in the Mens 1x had at least a top 8 place at a World Championship in the Mens 1x. From Sweden I was joined by my training partner from Höganäs, Dennis Gustavsson.
The organizer decided to start the Mens 2x and 1x at the same time. To me a strange decision since we were quite many in both Finals (18 and 15 respectively). The start was tight and the rough water did not make it better. I took a bit longer route to avoid crashes. Or at least so I thought. When approaching the first turning point, I had taken the lead among the singles, but a double who did not follow overtaking rules crashed into me. We got tangled up and after a few more seconds, a second double crashed into us and a pile up was a fact. I tried desperately to get away quickly but in vain. The crash alone cost more than a minute and I hurt my arm in the process. When I finally got free I was fighting to make up for the crash. It worked for a while but the pain in my arm was too great. The last third of the race I could barely pull with my arms all together, so my great comeback was not to be.
I was deeply disappointed about the organizers decision to start the M1x and M2x at the same time. I like the races to be decided on who is the fastest rower, not who is lucky enough to avoid crashes with other boat classes. It´s a shame because I think otherwise Monte Carlo is a great race: Good track, good water, great setting, great hospitality, just an unfortunate bad decision in this matter.
Dennis had an exciting race. Fighting among the leaders the whole way, taking home a bronze medal in the end. In my own grief, I was very happy for Dennis success
With a hurt arm we took the decision not to race the Mens 2x on Sunday. I was not very keen on not being able to row at 100% and also maybe making the injury even worse in the process. We instead took a beautiful run in the hills of Monte Carlo.