Olympic Sport Lowdown: Rowing & Paralympic Rowing

By Lindsey Last edited 123 months ago
Olympic Sport Lowdown: Rowing & Paralympic Rowing

Most of us will have had a go at rowing, if only on the boating lake at Ally Pally or down the local gym. It's knackering. So imagine repeating that rowing action up to 40 times a minute, for six or more minutes, in perfect synchronicity with a crew or responding to the command of a cox. We are in awe of the strength and stamina required.

Here's a heads up on what to expect from the incredible Olympic and Paralympic rowing competitions.

There are 14 Olympic medal events taking place over eight days at Eton Dorney, the Eton College created and owned Dorney Lake near Windsor. Sweep rowers (one oar) compete in crews of two, four or eight whilst scullers (two oars) go solo, or in pairs or fours. The Telegraph has a nice infographic which summarises the permutations of boat and crew.

There are four medals up for grabs in Paralympic Rowing — also known as 'adaptive rowing — the men's and women's single sculls, the mixed double sculls and the mixed coxed four.

Rowing is one of Team GB's most successful Olympic sports, producing impressive medal hauls and national heroes like Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.

Adaptive rowing made its Paralympic debut in the 2008 Games and Team GB won two of the four medals. Safe to say, home team expectations run high for London 2012.

London is home to oodles of Olympic rowing history. Jamie Halliday of Vesta Rowing tells us, "London Rowing Club has a four suspended from their ceiling that won silver in Berlin (1936), my own club Vesta was represented in the 1908 games by one Harry Blackstaffe who won Sculler gold and Tideway Scullers in Chiswick is the home club of the current GB Single Sculler Alan Cambell."

If you find yourself upriver in Henley-on-Thames visit the River and Rowing Museum where an exhibition about the 1948 London Olympics opens on 31 March.

Fun fact: Rowing is the only sport where competitors cross the finish line backwards.

Fancy row, row, rowing your boat not so gently down the stream? There are loads of places to start rowing in London and on the Thames. London Regatta Centre at Docklands is the place to go for adaptive rowing.

Find out more at British Rowing.

*To 'catch a crab' is rowing-ese for performing a faulty stroke

We're bringing you the Londonist lowdown on all Olympic and Paralympic sports in the run up to London 2012.

Last Updated 13 February 2012