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Best of 2022: Female Athlete of the Year Karolien Florijn

BY CHIP DAVIS
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER

After winning a silver medal in the four at the Tokyo Olympics, Karolien Florijn got in her single and essentially hasn’t come in second since. 

At World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade and again at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, the 24-year-old won her heat, semifinal, and A final in commanding fashion, typically over-stroking everyone as she rowed away from the field, winning by open water every time out. She did the same at the 2022 European Rowing Championships and then continued her streak at the world championships, facing defending Olympic champion Emma Twigg in the grand final—and led start-to-finish for the gold.

Florijn is the daughter of Olympic-rower parents and the sister of Finn Florijn, the Dutch single sculler whose Tokyo Games ended between the heats and reps when he tested positive for Covid. She’s studying law in Amsterdam and rowed for her club, Nereus, in the four this spring before switching to the single for international racing, something she described as “quite easy, because I started as a junior rower in the single.”

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