By Yuri Kovalev
This season, Karsten, 38, has been in excellent shape, winning every World Cup round, as well as the European Championship. During her career, Yekaterina the Great has claimed six world championships, winning gold every year since 2005.
This year, in New Zealand’s Kapiro, in the singles race, the titled Belarusian won all the preliminary rounds and, in the 2,000m finals, was the leading favourite. Alas, at the very end, she allowed Swedish Frida Svensson to overtake her by a mere 0.18 seconds, causing a sensation and depriving Yekaterina of her seventh world champion title.
In the final race, Svensson slightly pulled away from her rivals in the very first minutes while Karsten rowed ahead, shoulder to shoulder with Mirka Knapkova. Yekaterina had viewed Mirka as her main opponent and paid little attention to the Swedish rower. In the middle of the race, the gap between Svensson and Karsten narrowed to two seconds.
Everyone anticipated Karsten’s famous surge of power in the second half, and she did not disappoint, rowing at full speed as the race progressed, pushing Knapkova out of her away for the final 500m. However, in the last moments, Svensson managed to pull ahead to claim her unexpected win. Of course, Yekaterina’s greatness is undiminished. Svensson’s victory is perceived as a miracle, whereas Yekaterina is still expected to win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.