Rowing was scheduled to appear at Athens in 1896 but bad weather caused its cancellation. It made its Olympic debut at Paris 1900. The seating configurations of the boats in the Olympic regatta have changed a number of times since then.

Women’s rowing was introduced at the Olympics at Montreal 1976 and lightweight rowing, for men and women, was introduced at Atlanta 1996.

Sport Format

In Olympic rowing 14 different boat classes are raced. Eight sculling events in which two oars are used, one in each hand and six sweep-oared events in which the rower uses one oar with both hands. The sculling boat classes are the single, the double and the quadruple sculls with crews of one, two or four athletes respectively, as well as the lightweight double. The sweep rowing categories include the pair, the four, the lightweight four (for men only) and the eight with coxswain, which is perhaps the most spectacular rowing event of all.

For the lightweight events (the lightweight women’s double and the lightweight men’s double and four) the average weight of a men’s crew must not exceed 70kg with the maximum weight for crew members being 72.5kg, for women the average weight of a crew must not exceed 57kg with the maximum weight for crew members being 59kg. All races cover a distance of 2000 metres.