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Rio 2016 Olympic Calympian: Marko Marjanovic, Men's rowing, Serbia

Cal alum Marko Marjanovic will row in the double sculls event in Rio for his native Serbia.

2016 FISA European And Final Olympic Qualification Regatta - Day 3
Cal alum Marko Marjanovic (L) will be a 1st time Olympian in Rio, representing Serbia. His partner is Andrija Sljukic.
Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Marko Marjanovic

Sport: Men's Rowing (men's double sculls)

Country: Serbia

Twitter: @MarjanovicMarko

Birthday: November 24th, 1985 (age 30)

Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia (Marko went to a Nikola Tesla high school, by the way)

Cal affiliation: California Golden Bears alum (Political Economy of Industrial Societies and Slavic Languages and Literatures double major '08)

Years at Cal: 2004 - 2008

Olympic appearances: Rio 2016 is Marko's 1st Olympic appearance.

Cal Achievements:

Marko Marjanovic started his Cal career by being on the undefeated freshman eight boat in 2005. He graduated to the Varsity 8 boat in his sophomore year. That crew in 2006 won both the Pac-10 and the IRA national championship. In 2007, Marjanovic and the V8 boat finished 2nd at the Pac-10 and 5th at the IRA. The Cal V8 boat finished 2nd at the Pac-10 and 3rd at the IRA in 2008, the final year before head coach Steve Gladstone transitions to another job (before moving on to Yale few years later).

In his senior year, Marko was named to the 2008 Pac-10 Men's Rowing All-Academic 2nd Team.

International Achievements:

Marko Marjanovic has been a member of the Serbian national team since 2002. He raced in the junior championships and the U23 championships (Silver in 2006 for Coxless pair) through 2007 before winning his first International medal (a Silver) at the 2007 World Championships in Munich in the Coxed Fours.

Marjanovic has also won a Silver in the 2011 European Championships in the Double sculls to go with two Bronzes in 2008 and 2010 European Championships in Double sculls and Coxless pair, respectively.

Marjanovic attempted to qualify for the 2008 Beijing games in the four (quad scull) with two other Cal rowers, Jovan Popovic and Goran Todorovic. I do not see any results, however, from this qualification attempt.

In 2012, Marjanovic competed in the Olympic qualification in the single scull. He finished 4th and did not qualify for the London games.

More recently and strictly in the double sculls, Marjanovic placed 2nd at the 2015 World Cup in Bled among a bunch of other events where he and partner only got to the B finals. At the 2016 FISA European and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, Marjanovic and partner placed 2nd to make the Rio games.

You can find a detail list of Marjanovic’s results through his World Rowing profile page here.

More on Marko and his Rio outlook:

Marko Marjanovic is paired up with Andrija Sljukic in the double sculls. Marjanovic is in the “Bow” position while Sljukiv is in the “Stroke” position.

There are very limited information on Marjanovic on the internet. He did a Q&A with prior to his attempt to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. We learn about his inspiration to start rowing and how his cousin, a former Calympian Ivan Smilijanic, is his role model. Did you have any role models when you started rowing?

Marjanovic: "That's really important in rowing, because it's a hard sport. Rowing demands a lot of physical and mental work. When I was starting out I had my cousin Ivan (Smiljanic, a former Cal rower and Serbian Olympian), who's four years older than me. He was my role model when I started. He showed me a lot of things. Whenever I had any problems, he would advise me and help me to overcome those initial problems.

"You don't see results the first few years in rowing. You need to work hard. It's hard work that I invested in those early years, and it's paying off here at Cal, winning medals, and at World Championships." When did you first realize you wanted to row in the Olympics?

Marjanovic: "The goal of every athlete when they start rowing is not how much money you're going to earn, but going to the Olympics and World Championships; that means a lot to rowers. When I started rowing I always dreamed of the Olympics. Competing in the Olympics in rowing, with much older people - when I'm competing in the coxless four other athletes are in their mid-thirties and older - is a great honor. That's what I was looking forward to when I was younger." When did you start rowing?

Marjanovic: "I started rowing when I was 12. I started out as coxswain because I was small at first. The first two or three years I was a coxswain, and then I grew up, and started growing and developing. Being a coxswain for a little bit helped me a lot to learn the basics and mechanics of strokes." Is there one thing in particular you're looking forward to if you get to Beijing?

Marjanovic: "The thing I'm looking forward to is being in the starting block. Being in the starting block before the race, I just don't want to think about it, how proud of myself I'm going to be, because achieving a goal in life, rarely do you get to do that. Being in the starting block as an Olympian is going to be one of those dreams."

Marjanovic did not make the Olympic in 2008. It is great to see him achieve his dream 8 years later though. Best of luck to Marko in Rio.

Roundup of Cal Men's Crew at Rio 2016:

Cal Men's Crew will be represented by 5 rowers - 4 alum and 1 current student, representing 5 different countries. They are all also racing in different events. All 5 of the rowers have won national champions during their time in Berkeley.

Will Dean (Canada), Cal alum and 2010 national champ, 2nd time Olympian - quadruple sculls

Nareg Guregian (USA), Cal alum and 2010 national champ, 1st time Olympian - coxless pair

Marko Marjanovic (Serbia), Cal alum and 2006 national champ, 1st time Olympian - double sculls

Olivier Siegelaar (Netherlands), Cal alum and 2010 national champ, 3rd time Olympian - eight

Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (Poland), Cal student and 2016 national champ, 1st time Olympian - single sculls

In case you are wondering about the differences between these events, here is a quick summary. While both the coxless pair and the double scull are pair events, they are significantly different in the way that the oars are setup (and consequently the motion). The double scull is the traditional crew rowing position. For the coxless pair, each rower is in control of only one sweep oar on just one side of the boat. Sweeping is also the usual motion for the tradition rowing (coxless fours and eights). When the rower is in a seated position and pulling simultaneously on two oars, this is called sculling. The sculling races range from a single person (single scull), two person (double scull), to the four person (quadruple scull). Now you know (and knowing is half the battle) more about rowing, remember that Cal Crew is the oldest and grandest of all Cal sports.

Want to know what to watch for during a rowing race? The video below talks a bit about the intricacies of rowing and how to watch a race.