THE STORY OF THE LIST
If this isn’t your first LIST, you know what to do. If it is–welcome! You’re about to experience something very special. The List is a project I’ve undertaken for the past six (!) years during my career as an elite international female rowing athlete. Back in 2008 when the List was first conceptualized, it came about while I was whiling away downtime in my hotel room during the Beijing Olympic Games. In the media maelstrom that occurs during the Summer Olympics, there were numerous “Top Hottest Olympians” lists published all over the web, but none of them included Olympic rowers (tennis…swimming…tennis…tennis…beach volleyball…swimming….tennis… you get the idea). Now, I may or may not be an expert on this, but rowers are pretty freakin hot. Not only are we tall and (usually) tan, but we work really hard, and are extremely fit. Rowing requires a unique blend of endurance and power, which lends itself to some pretty phenomenal physiques; but rowing also attracts a certain personality type–tough, passionate, determined, funny, and pretty much all-around awesome. I decided to do something about the omission of rowers on these mainstream media Top Hotties lists, and made my own. The rowing community has taken off with it, and it is a famous/infamous annual event on my blog. It celebrates athletic performance, sportsmanship (and sometimes showmanship), and most importantly: the sense of community that we as rowers–and athletes–all share. I have met some really cool and interesting people through The List and have loved watching it grow from a numbered list of names on my blog to a sponsored event complete with gear and swag bags. Thanks for checking out the List. Now let’s check out some rowers.
(more info on the LIST HERE)
Check out your 2013 Top 20
20. Peter Van Schie – NED M4X
Well what can I say about this year’s #20. He’s got the longest legs I’ve ever seen and some Classical Adonis-worthy blonde ringlets that somehow work really well with the everyday scruff. In any case, this young Dutchman is the only NED representative on this year’s LIST and rowed in the number two seat of the Dutch men’s quad that finished eighth at this year’s World Championships in Chungju.
19. Ante Janjic – CRO M4-
Why hello there amazing biceps and fantastic checkerboard unis! Ante was the fearless stroke seat of the Croatian Men’s Four that finished ninth at this year’s World Championships in Chungju. After eighth place in Lucerne and fourth at the European Championships, Ante and his crew will be looking to crack the A Finals in the 2014 Men’s Fours fields.
18. Cristian Rosso – ARG M2X
A long-time favorite, and first-time LISTer, one of the “young pretenders” from the phenomenal Argentine Men’s Double has cracked the Top 20. After a thrilling fourth place finish at the 2012 Olympic Games, Cristian returned with doubles partner Ariel Suarez in 2013 to finish fifth in Chungju. Cristian was named World Rowing’s Athlete of the Month for September, and has hands-down the most amazing glacier-blue eyes you will find out on the water. Welcome to the LIST, Cristian.
17. Michael Hager – AUT LM2-
Michael was this summer’s “Who is that?? — oh it’s you again”-athlete. Just your standard, classic, chiseled Alpine jawline with sandy blonde hair to set it off. Part of the resurgence of Austrian rowing, which brought several small boats to the World Championships this year in Chungju. Michael did well to make the A Final in the LM2-, having just emerged from the U23 pool this season.
16. Will Dean CAN M4- @will13dean
Because Will is Canadian, a young Robert Redford incarnate, and also one of the sweetest and most polite people I have ever met, I do not hold it against him that he graduated from Cal. Will rowed in maybe the hottest Canadian Men’s Four of all time this summer along with List alumni Conlin McCabe and Rob Gibson plus Husky Legend Will Crothers, but had a tough time getting through the preliminary races and so raced in the C Final in Chungju. Likes all things crunchy and sustainable, and will definitely be a man to watch during the build up to Rio.
15. James Lassche NZL LM4- @LasscheJames
With an impish smile and a sense of humor to go along with it, James is a standout on the Kiwi squad with the best blonde locks anywhere in World Rowing. After just missing out on Olympic qualification in 2012 in the LM4-, James came back with the Kiwi lightweights this year and handily won all 3 World Cups in 2013 before winning a silver medal at the World Championships in Chungju.
14. Mario Gyr – SUI LM2X @MarioGyr
Just when we thought that we would never see a five-o’clock shadow as good as Mark Hunter’s ever again: enter Mario Gyr. Mario is a part of the Swiss Lightweight Mafia that stormed into Chungju this year ready to make their mark on the international field. He finished third at the European Championships and had a fantastic race in the final of the LM2X in Chungju to win the silver medal.
13. Tom Aggar – GBR ASM1X @TomAggar
Essentially the face of men’s international Para Rowing, Tom has been on the LIST radar for some time before finally breaking in to the top 20 in 2013. Tom is an extremely decorated athlete with four World Championship titles and a 2008 Paralympic Gold, and has been twice-named the World Rowing Adaptive Crew of the Year. Got off to a good start this season with a gold at the second World Cup in Eton, but just missed out on the medals in Chungju, finishing fourth.
12. Mario Paonessa – ITA M4-
A perennial favorite, Mario returned to the Italian Men’s Four this year in the three seat. After a bronze medal at the third World Cup in Lucerne, raced in an exciting final at the World Championships just missing out on the medals in fourth place. Selected by World Rowing as a “Rising Star” in June 2013, Mario has no shortage of charm or manners and was a perfect gentleman when I met him this year in Chungju. Ciao!
11. Pau Vela Maggi – ESP M2- @pauvema
What a smile! A fun crew to watch this year in an event that the majority of the international rowing community have given up as unwinnable. Had a good go early in the season with a 2nd place finish at the European Championships and an exciting bronze medal at third World Cup in Lucerne. Finished fourth overall at the World Championships , a great result for a Spanish crew who have been mostly out of the medals –and finals– for the past several years.
10. Ondrej Synek – CZE M1X
It turns out the biggest men are so often the sweetest and most genuine. I finally got to meet the 6’8” Czech this year in Chungju and was so very pleased to make his acquaintance. Ondrej had a great 2013 season, returning to the 1X after his Silver Medal performance in London, and actually had a sprint in his World Championship final to fend off scullers from Cuba and Germany to take home the gold.
9. Robert Duff Jr. – USA LM4- @RobertoDuff1
The tallest and also the tannest athlete in the USA LM4-, “Bobby Digital” made his debut in the light four this year. His contributions to the crew included a near-miss on the final at World Cup III –which resulted in a win in the B final—and a memorable and historic race through the semifinals to help the US make their first appearance in the World Championship A Final in over a decade.
8. Will Lockwood – AUS M4- @WJLockwood
Upon watching the AUS M4- racing at World Cup III in July, I remember saying: “Those boys are going to break some hearts this year! They…row…so…well” before swooning over yet another seamless stretch of seemingly effortless rowing. I couldn’t have anticipated the gutsy Dutch sprint that would overthrow my self-proclaimed Princes of the M4- but the Aussies held on to a great silver medal in a fast and furious field in 2013. One of the two returning athletes in the crew from the 2012 Silver Medal boat, Will rowed to World Cup gold and silver before Worlds Silver in Chungju.
7. Ian Silveira – USA M8+ @i_silveira
Making his Senior Team debut rowing in the bow seat of the United States Men’s 8+, Ian helped the US crew row to a gold medal at World Cup III and bronze at the World Championships. Despite being one of a mostly-new crew, the US M8+ had its best competitive season since 2008. With his sparkling blue eyes and infectious and enthusiastic energy, it’s no secret that Ian is my favorite on the US heavy men’s squad.
6. Richard Schmidt – GER M8+
A member of the indefatigable German men’s 8+ that led a very respectable campaign this season having replaced half of their crew that won Olympic Gold in 2012. Richard is a survivor of the 2012 legacy, leading this year’s crew to gold medal finishes at World Cup II and the European Championships, and silver medals at World Cup III and the World Championships in Chungju. Currently ranked the sixth best rower in the World.
5. Graeme Thomas – GBR M4X @Graeme_Thomas
A fresh face on the ever-competitive British men’s squad, helped lead their new-look men’s quadruple sculls to the first-ever medal finish at a World Championships. Dubbed anonymously “the British Enrique Iglesias”, Graeme has a great sense of humor, and is mischievous beyond doubt.
4. Saulius Ritter – LTU M2X
They’re back! Part of a team of absolute powerhouse Lithuanian men’s and women’s doubles, all of whom also happen to be List-worthy, this year Saulius received too many nominations to ignore. Had a very good season, finishing second at the European Championships, third in Lucerne and second at the World Championships. Still racing hot, and still rockin the neon yellow and green unisuits better than anyone on the lake.
3. Angel Fournier Rodriguez – CUB M1X
We’ve all been waiting for it, and it finally happened: Angel –dubbed affectionately “the Big Cuban” by FISA announcers—has broken in to the medals. Watching his journey over the past several years culminated in a great amount of wild clapping and cheering in the Grandstands on Finals day, where I was seated near the rest of the Cuban delegation. It goes without saying, observing their reception of their teammate after his silver medal performance (hugs and happy tears from all around) was a very special and moving experience.
2. Alex Gregory – GBR M8+ @AlexGregoryGB
Last year’s #1 returned to the World Championships this year in a bigger boat and went home with yet another gold medal. After a disappointing regatta in Lucerne, Alex rowed in the number three seat of the British Men’s 8+ that won its first-ever World Championship in that event. As if the historic medal wasn’t enough good news for the fall, Alex returned home after Worlds to a newborn daughter, born during the first few days of racing. Currently ranked the eighth best rower in the World.
1. Kjetil Borch – NOR M2X @kbborch
Returned from a 7th place finish in 2012 in the M2X to an uncertain 2013 season riddled with injury and illness. Made massive strives after World Cup III to dominate the men’s double sculls with List-alumnus bowman, Nils Jakob Hoff, and become World Champions by nearly a length on the field. One of the friendliest and most fun-loving, outgoing athletes in the World, Kjetil is still as blonde as ever, and still easy to spot on the water. Look for him to defend his Champ Singles crown at this year’s Head of the Charles regatta.
SPONSORS & SWAG
I am so excited to have expanded the field of sponsors for this year’s List. The guys will be getting a sweet gear package customized just for them from our very cool and supportive sponsor companies. JL RACING will be donating unisuits, SEW SPORTY will be donating the traditional customized LIST shirts (with athletes’ LIST numbers on the back), HUDSON and REGATTA SPORT will be adding customized LIST long sleeve performance shirts, VIEW SPORT will be adding some sick sweat-activated performance shirts and NALGENE will be keeping the LIST men hydrated with some swanky BPA-free water bottles. Returning sponsors ROW2K and CONCEPT2 have been working behind-the-scenes to make the LIST more amazing than ever. THANK YOU to everyone I have been working with since August to make this all come together!
This year’s LIST includes athletes from 16 countries and from ten different events. Argentina and Austria have their first LIST representatives this year. Great Britain tops the count with three in the top 20 (plus #21, Phelan Hill, is four), and the USA has two. Five of the LIST guys have made multiple LISTs, and fifteen are making their debut in the top 20. With the retirement of LIST stalwarts Lassi Karonen and André Vonarburg (I miss you guys!!), there are no remaining athletes who have made all six LISTs.
THE COLOR PURPLE
Why is the LIST purple this year? I chose to work in purple for 2013 in honor of my late father, Dean Kalmoe, who passed away in March after battling cancer for four years. Dad was always so supportive of rowing, where it took me, and of all the experiences it brought to my life, and the LIST was all a part of that. He would have been stoked to see and hear all the enthusiasm that has built up for the 2013 edition of the LIST.
Thanks so much everyone! Looking forward to watching the List work its magic over the next few days. Enjoy, and of course:
Long Live the Dream,