Tokyo Calympian: Joachim Sutton, Rowing, Denmark

Sutton is one of 5 first-time Olympians on Cal Men's Rowing's 2016 national championship winning V8+ boat.

The most recent Cal Men’s Rowing national championship came in 2016. The winning Varsity 8 boat consisted of Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, Martin Mackovic, Maarten Hurkmans, Joachim Sutton, Niki van Sprang, Ferdi Querfeld, Morgan Hellen, Alex Wallis, and coxswain Julian Venonsky. Out of this group, Natan was already a Rio 2016 “Calympian” for Poland in the single sculls. Mackovic (Serbia Men’s Pairs), Hurkmans (Netherlands Men’s Eight), Sutton (Denmark Men’s Pair), van Sprang (Netherlands Men’s Pair), and Venonsky (USA Men’s Eight) are all first-time Calympians in Tokyo.

I wrote about Hurkmans already and will be covering the rest of this “Calympian” group over the next few days.

Joachim Sutton

Sport: Rowing

Event: Men’s Pair

Nation: Denmark

Hometown: Roskilde, Denmark

Olympic Appearance: 1st

Age: 26 (May 15, 1995)

Cal connection: Alumnus (‘19, Anthropology)

Cal accomplishments: 2016 IRA National Champions in his freshman year when he also earned the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year honor

With partner Frederic Vystavel, Joachim Sutton placed 2nd at the Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland back in May to earn their place in Tokyo. The Danish pair finished just behind the Dutch pair that included Sutton’s former boatmate van Sprang.

Dream come true. Qualified for the Olympics Tokyo2021!!!

Heading to Japan in a month for the final preparation before the games!

Go Bears

📸: @balintczucz


Joachim Sutton is a rare Danish rower to come to America for collegiate rowing. A nice Inside the Lair feature of Sutton was written back in 2017.

After stumbling upon a YouTube clip in high school, Joachim Sutton set the gears in motion to become one of the first Danish rowers to compete for an American collegiate program.

 "I did not know about college rowing at all before I came here," Sutton said. "I had no idea that programs across America would be stacked with such amazing rowers and that the competition was so intense."

Although Cal has a long tradition of rowers from across the globe, Sutton became the first Dane to join the team when he arrived in Berkeley in the fall of 2015.

"I am the first Danish male rower that I know of to come here so that left me without anyone to talk to and seek advice from," Sutton said. "But I knew I wanted the experience so I was looking online for schools in the U.S. with rowing and came across Cal."

It is not clear from the article just which YouTube clip initiated the life-changing voyage by Joachim Sutton to come to the United States.

In the same article, Sutton also talked about being a pioneer for Danish heavyweight rowing.

"Denmark is a very small country with an even smaller rowing scene," said Sutton, who measures in at 6-6, 210 pounds. "We have a great tradition of lightweight rowing but we have yet to make a tradition of heavyweight rowing. I hope to help change that once I graduate from Cal and return to Denmark."

Sutton and Denmark qualifying for the Olympics is a pretty big deal. In the Rio 2016 Games, Denmark only qualified in men’s lightweight four (where they won silver) and lightweight double sculls. Denmark has actually been pretty dominant in men’s lightweight rowing, so they do have the potential to do well in heavyweight rowing.

A proud alum of Cal, Joachim Sutton also reps Cal while transporting his dog around Copenhagen.

Best of luck to Joachim Sutton and his partner in Tokyo!

Rowing Schedule:

The men's rowing event at the Tokyo Games is scheduled for July 23-30 on the Sea Forest Waterway.

Date and Time: Sat 24 July 2021, 8:30 - 12:30

  • Men's Pair Heats

Date and Time: Sun 25 July 2021, 9:00 - 11:40

  • Men's Pair Repechage

Date and Time: Tue 27 July 2021, 8:30 - 12:00

  • Men's Pair Semifinals A/B

Date and Time: Thu 29 July 2021, 8:30 - 11:50

  • Men's Pair Final A

  • Men's Pair Victory Ceremony