Scullers Standoff at the Philadelphia Gold Cup
By USRowing Staff • October 28, 2016
It has been a busy week for Cambridge Boat Club’s Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.). Winning the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s single sculls event, Stone has since added two more medals to her mantel after winning both the women’s champ single and the women’s champ eight at the 52nd Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston this past weekend.
Her fall season isn’t over yet – and it will be a sprint to the finish. Scheduled for Saturday, October 27 during the Head of the Schuylkill, thousands of spectators will watch as the eight-best scullers in the world compete for what some may consider the most prestigious trophy in the sculling world.
“In the last couple of years, these two weeks in October have been formative in creating an even tighter bond among the elite single sculling community,” said Stone. “As for the racing, it’ll be interesting! On the women’s side, most of us have not spent much time in our boats since Rio as we are probably (or definitely) retiring. Additionally, seven hundred meters is a distance which none of us quite know how to race, which makes it exciting! Not quite a blast of speed that a five hundred meter piece would be, and definitely not the regular two-kilometer race with which we are very familiar. No matter what, we’ll all row hard!”
This year’s competitors represent single sculling’s most illustrious Olympic champions. The 2016 Philadelphia Gold Cup is very likely to showcase a rematch of both the men’s and women’s finals from the Rio Olympics as well as a symbolic passing of the torch to the younger generation of scullers.
The bond between the athletes is something Stone holds very close to her heart.
“Despite being from all around the world, single scullers have a lot in common. I find that being with the sculling group; sometimes they understand me in ways that my non-rower friends at home can’t. We’re all a tad crazy to be doing what we’re doing, and we share a love for the rowing, the racing, and the community. It’s funny because sometimes at talks with kids we get open-ended (Why do you love rowing?) or difficult (How do you push yourself?) questions and we all agree on one answer. There are thousands of options out there, and we all agree.
“That being said, it’s amazing to get to know better some of the people whom I admire most in the world. I have such deep respect for the women and men in the single, and I love spending time with them. I tried to convince them all to move to Boston, but unfortunately, I had no luck.”
First coined as “The Philadelphia Challenge Cup,” the Gold Cup was designed by Bailey, Banks & Biddle Jewelers. Commissioned in honor of Jack Kelly Sr. after winning gold in the single sculls at the 1920 Olympics in Brussels, Belgium.
The 14-karat, a solid gold cup was engraved with Kelly’s name in recognition of his title as the undisputed world champion in the single sculls. With prestige comes mystery as the Cup would go missing in the 60’s to reappear suddenly in an antique store in downtown Philadelphia over 30 years later.
After a group of determined rowing-enthusiasts raised funds to bring the Cup back to the rowing fold, the Gold Cup Challenge now, once again, calls Philadelphia and the Schuylkill River it’s home.
The Gold Cup Challenge continues to be uncommon as the race is only 750 meters long which makes for hard racing and spectacular finished as the top rowers from around the world battle it out in front of the iconic Boathouse Row.
The field of competitors will highlight some of the best and the strongest from the water of Lagoa Freitas from Rio de Janeiro.
This year’s male competitors will include 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Mahé Drysdale (NZL), Olympic Silver Medalist Damir Martin (CRO), Olympian Martin Sinkovic (CRO) and 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist and defending Gold Cup champion Kjetil Borch (NOR).
The female competition will consist of Olympic Gold Medalist and defending Philadelphia Gold Cup Champion Kim Brennan (AUS), Olympic Silver Medalist Dr. Genevra “Gevvie” Stone (USA), Olympian Emma Twigg (NZL) and Olympian Jeannine Gmelin (SUI).
Kjetil Borch (Norway)
Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand)
Martin Sinkovic (CRO)
Damir Martin (Croatia)
Kim Crow (Australia)
Jeannine Gmelin (Switzerland)
Gevvie Stone (United States)
Emma Twigg (New Zealand)
Prize money of $10,000 will be awarded to the Champion; $5,000 for second place, $2,500 for third place and $1,000 for fourth place. A Gold Cup medal will be given to each winner.
For more information, visit the Gold Cup website: www.thegoldcup.org.