- Rowing at the Summer Olympics
Rowing at the Summer Olympics has been part of the competition since the
1900 Summer Olympics. Rowing was on the program at the 1896 Summer Olympicsbut was cancelled due to bad weather. Only men were allowed to compete until the women's events were introduced at the 1976 Summer Olympicsin Montreal. Lightweight rowingevents were introduced to the games in 1996. (These events have weight limits on their crews.)
Qualifying for the rowing events is under the jurisdiction of the
International Rowing Federation(or FISA, its French acronym). FISA predates the modern Olympicsand was the first international sport federation to join the modern Olympic movement.
At the current Olympics the following 14 events are offered:
*Men: quad sculls,
double sculls, single sculls, eight, coxless four, coxless pair
*Lightweight Men: coxless four, double sculls
*Women: quad sculls, double sculls, single sculls, eight, coxless pair
*Lightweight Women: double sculls
The lightweight events came under a hazard in 2002 when the Programme Commission of the IOC recommended that, outside of combat sports (
boxing& wrestling, but not fencing, shooting, and archery) and weightlifting, there should not be weight-category events. The Executive Board overturned this recommendation and the lightweight rowing has been continued.
In the early games (1900 and 1904) there were several other categories of events (Junior, Novice, Association, and Intermediate). A number of other boat classes have made an appearance at several games (sometimes for a long time) but have been subsequently dropped - sometimes quite recently. The primary loss has been in boats with coxwains, except for the eights, which have always been coxed. These were:
*Men's Coxed Pair (1900-1992)
*Men's Coxed Four (1900-1992)
*Women's Coxed Four (1976-1988)
*Women's Coxed Quad Sculls (1976-1984)
*Women's Coxless Four (1992 only)
*Men's Coxed Four with Inriggers [An "inrigger" is a boat with
oarlocks attached directly on the gunwale.] (1912 only)
*Six-Man Naval Rowing Boats (1906 only)
*17-Man Naval Rowing Boats (1906 only)
Men's races have been raced over the standard 2,000 meters except in 1900 (over 1,750 m), 1904 (1.5 miles/2,414 m), 1906 (various lengths), 1908 (2,414 m) and 1948 (1,880 m). The 1908 and 1948 were held over the
Henley Royal Regattacourse.
Women's races were raced over 1,000 meters until 1988 when they were changed to 2,000 meters.
Early games featured match races between two or three boats (in 1952, between four or five boats).
There is a limited number of crews permitted to race, so the
International Rowing Federationholds qualification events in order to determine who competes at the Olympic Games. At the Olympic Games, each National Olympic Committeecan only have one boat per event.
The main qualification comes from the previous year's
World Rowing Championships. Other qualifying events are called "Continental Qualification Regattas", of which four are held during the year preceding the games - Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Final (open to everyone else). Each year FISA issues details of how many crews qualify at each regatta.
At the World Championships, the top finishing boats guarantee a place for that country - the rowers in the crew can be changed before the games. At the qualification regattas, it is the crew that wins that qualifies for the Olympics, and no changes can be made (except in the cases of illness or injuries).
* [http://www.hickoksports.com/history/olrowing.shtml Olympic Rowing Medalists] at HickokSports.com
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