There are two types of Rowing at the Olympic Games: Sweep Rowing and Sculling.

Did you know?

Rowing is the only sport where competitors cross the finish line backwards.
The oldest Olympic Rowing champion was Great Britain’s Guy Nickalls who was 41 when he won gold at London 1908.
The youngest Olympic gold medallist ever is thought to be a young Dutch boy who was pulled from the crowd at the Paris 1900 Games to act as a cox for the Dutch Pairs crew. His name and age were never recorded, but photographs suggest he was seven to nine years old.
Modern rowing boats are made from a state-of-the-art fibreglass compound.
The first Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race took place in 1828.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, was a competitive rower.

Key facts

Venue: Eton Dorney
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Sunday 4 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 14
Athletes: 550

Rowing: a history of the sport

Rowing is known for legendary displays of strength and stamina.

The first rowing races took place on the River Thames in Shakespeare’s time, when Londoners bet on the ferries crossing between the banks.

The sport developed its modern form during the 19th century, after universities adopted it as a competitive event. So began a tradition that remains to this day with the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge university students.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website

Rowing at the Games

Rowing has been included in the programme for every modern Olympic Games, but rough seas caused tWenlock mascot rowinghe event to be cancelled at Athens 1896.

Women’s races were introduced at the Montreal 1976 Games, with the first Lightweight events staged at Atlanta 1996.

The introduction of Lightweight categories has led to an increase in the number of countries achieving medal success at the Games, although traditional rowing nations such as Great Britain and Germany remain strong.

How to play

There are two types of Rowing at the Olympic Games: Sweep Rowing and Sculling.

Sweep Rowers use a single oar. They compete in crews of two, four or eight – the eight is steered by a ‘cox’, who also gives the crew directions.

Scullers have an oar in each hand, and so can compete alone, as well as in doubles and quads.

There are events for both Heavyweight and Lightweight Rowers, and crews race in six lanes over a 2,000m flat-water course, usually on a lake.

Speed and stamina are the keys to success – top rowers complete 40-45 strokes a minute towards the end of a race.

Jargon buster

  • Catch a crab: To make a faulty stroke.
  • Bowside: All the members of a Sweep boat crew whose oars are in the water on the left side of the boat.
  • Regatta: An organised event for boat racing between crews.
  • Rating: The number of strokes a crew rows per minute.
  • Full paddle: The top level of exertion a crew can manage.

Get involved

To find your nearest boat club, get in touch with British Rowing.

British Rowing is also running ‘Project Oarsome’ – a scheme to help young people at state schools in the United Kingdom get started in Rowing. For more infomation, see ‘other sites’.

rowing competition Beijing 2008

~ by superbowlnyc on February 20, 2011.

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