Rowing

Facts

Discipline of Rowing
Participants 7871
NOCs 112
Competitions held 268 (Venues)
Distinct events 35
IF World Rowing

Description

Rowing was first known as a means of transportation in the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Rowing as a sport probably began in England in the 17th and early 18th centuries. By the 19th century, rowing was popular in Europe and had been brought to America. Early races were usually contested by professionals, with heavy betting on races common. Competitive rowing precedes most of the other Olympic sports in its recorded modern history. The first Oxford-Cambridge race took place in 1828 and Yale and Harvard first rowed against each other in 1852. The sport was also the first summer Olympic sport to form an international governing body, in 1892.

Only in 1896 has rowing not been contested in the Olympics. It was actually on the program that year but rough seas forced cancellation of the events. There have been several events for men in both sweep events (single oar used by alternate oarsmen) and sculling events (two oars used by a single sculler or by two or more scullers). Through 1992, these included races for single, double, and quadruple sculls, and in sweep events, races for two and four oarsmen/women, with and without coxswain, and the large boats with eight oarsmen/women and a coxswain.

Women were admitted to the Olympic rowing program in 1976. They currently compete in a streamlined program, with single, double, and quad sculls, and the four-oar and eight-oar sweep events. The rowing program for the 1996 Olympics underwent a drastic change, with the introduction of lightweight events. The men’s coxed pairs and coxed fours was discontinued, replaced by the lightweight double sculls, and lightweight coxless fours. The women’s coxless pairs was also discontinued, replaced by lightweight double sculls.

The United States was the dominant nation in Olympic rowing until about 1960. The Soviet Union quickly became a power in the sport, but during its existence the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the 1970s and 1980s was by far the preeminent nation. The top list of Olympic rowers, however, mainly consists of British and Romanian competitors. Three rowers have won 5 gold medals: Elisabeta Oleniuc-Lipă, Steven Redgrave, Georgeta Damian-Andrunache. Oleniuc-Lipă has also uniquely won 8 medals, while four rowers have won 6 Olympic medals: Damian-Andrunache, Redgrave, Doina Ignat, and Veronica Cogeanu-Cochela

The world governing body of rowing is World Rowing, which was founded as the Fédération internationale des sociétés d’aviron (FISA) on 25 June 1892 in Torino, with five founding members: Adriatica (rowing clubs from Trieste, which belonged to Austria at that time, but they did not want to represent Austria), Belgium, France, Italy, and Switzerland. The name was changed to World Rowing in October 2020, and as of that date World Rowing has 156 member nations.

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 33 32 24 89
East Germany GDR 33 7 8 48
Great Britain GBR 31 25 14 70
Germany GER 27 20 15 62
Romania ROU 20 12 9 41
New Zealand NZL 14 5 10 29
Australia AUS 13 15 16 44
Soviet Union URS 12 20 10 42
Italy ITA 11 14 16 41
Canada CAN 10 17 16 43
France FRA 8 15 13 36
Netherlands NED 8 14 14 36
Switzerland SUI 7 8 9 24
Denmark DEN 7 5 13 25
Poland POL 4 4 11 19
West Germany FRG 4 4 6 14
Norway NOR 3 7 8 18
Bulgaria BUL 3 4 7 14
Finland FIN 3 1 3 7
People's Republic of China CHN 2 4 6 12
Croatia CRO 2 3 2 7
Czechoslovakia TCH 2 2 7 11
Belarus BLR 2 1 4 7
Czech Republic CZE 1 3 1 5
Slovenia SLO 1 1 3 5
Yugoslavia YUG 1 1 3 5
Argentina ARG 1 1 2 4
Greece GRE 1 1 2 4
Ireland IRL 1 1 1 3
South Africa RSA 1 1 1 3
Ukraine UKR 1 1 1 3
Russian Federation RUS 1 0 3 4
Belgium BEL 0 6 2 8
Austria AUT 0 3 3 6
Estonia EST 0 2 1 3
Russian Olympic Committee ROC 0 2 0 2
Sweden SWE 0 2 0 2
Uruguay URU 0 1 3 4
Hungary HUN 0 1 2 3
Lithuania LTU 0 1 2 3
Spain ESP 0 1 0 1
Unified Team EUN 0 0 1 1

Intercalated Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Italy ITA 4 1 1 6
France FRA 1 2 3 6
Greece GRE 1 2 1 4
Belgium BEL 0 1 0 1

Youth Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Romania ROU 2 1 2 5
Germany GER 2 1 0 3
Greece GRE 1 2 1 4
Belarus BLR 1 1 0 2
Ukraine UKR 1 1 0 2
Argentina ARG 1 0 1 2
Great Britain GBR 1 0 0 1
Italy ITA 1 0 0 1
Lithuania LTU 1 0 0 1
Slovenia SLO 1 0 0 1
Czech Republic CZE 0 2 0 2
Australia AUS 0 1 2 3
Azerbaijan AZE 0 1 0 1
People's Republic of China CHN 0 1 0 1
Sweden SWE 0 1 0 1
Canada CAN 0 0 2 2
France FRA 0 0 2 2
Estonia EST 0 0 1 1
Turkey TUR 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Elisabeta Oleniuc-Lipă ROU 5 2 1 8
Steven Redgrave GBR 5 0 1 6
Georgeta Damian-Andrunache ROU 5 0 1 6
Doina Ignat ROU 4 1 1 6
Kathrin Boron GER 4 0 1 5
Viorica Susanu ROU 4 0 1 5
Matthew Pinsent GBR 4 0 0 4
Jack Beresford GBR 3 2 0 5
Constanța Pipotă-Burcică ROU 3 1 1 5
Elena Georgescu ROU 3 1 1 5

Intercalated Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Enrico Bruna ITA 3 0 0 3
Giorgio Cesana ITA 3 0 0 3
Emilio Fontanella ITA 3 0 0 3
Gaston Delaplane FRA 1 1 1 3
E. Bellotti ITA 1 0 0 1
Angelo Fornaciari ITA 1 0 0 1
Giuseppe Poli ITA 1 0 0 1
Giuseppe Russo ITA 1 0 0 1
R. Taormina ITA 1 0 0 1
Giovanni Battista Tanio ITA 1 0 0 1
G. Tarantino ITA 1 0 0 1
P. Toio ITA 1 0 0 1
Riccardo Zardinoni ITA 1 0 0 1
Ioannis Agrimis GRE 1 0 0 1
Andreas Drivas GRE 1 0 0 1
Ioannis Georgas GRE 1 0 0 1
Ioannis Kaisarefs GRE 1 0 0 1
Demetrios Kakousis GRE 1 0 0 1
Pavlos Karangonidis GRE 1 0 0 1
Konstantinos Kefalas GRE 1 0 0 1
Ioannis Lafiotis GRE 1 0 0 1
Ioannis Loukas GRE 1 0 0 1
Isidoros Mikhas GRE 1 0 0 1
Argos Milonas GRE 1 0 0 1
Mikhail Mouratis GRE 1 0 0 1
Demetrios Piaditis GRE 1 0 0 1
Ioannis Pilouris GRE 1 0 0 1
Mikhail Sokos GRE 1 0 0 1
Khristos Tsirigotakis GRE 1 0 0 1
Petros Velliotis GRE 1 0 0 1

Youth Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Rolandas Maščinskas LTU 1 0 0 1
Fiona Gammond GBR 1 0 0 1
Georgia Howard-Merrill GBR 1 0 0 1
Judith Sievers GER 1 0 0 1
Grega Domanjko SLO 1 0 0 1
Jure Grace SLO 1 0 0 1
Krystsina Staraselets BLR 1 0 0 1
Cristina Popescu ROU 1 0 0 1
Denisa Tîlvescu ROU 1 0 0 1
Tim Naske GER 1 0 0 1
Gheorghe Dedu ROU 1 0 0 1
Ciprian Tudosă ROU 1 0 0 1
Nicolas Castelnovo ITA 1 0 0 1
Alberto Zamariola ITA 1 0 0 1
Ivan Tyshchenko UKR 1 0 0 1
María Sol Ordás ARG 1 0 0 1
Christina Bourmpou GRE 1 0 0 1
Maria Kyridou GRE 1 0 0 1

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Single Sculls Men 29
Double Sculls Men 25
Quadruple Sculls Men 12
Coxless Pairs Men 25
Coxless Fours Men 25
Eights Men 28
Lightweight Double Sculls Men 7
Single Sculls Women 12
Double Sculls Women 12
Coxless Pairs Women 12
Quadruple Sculls Women 9
Coxless Fours Women 2
Eights Women 12
Lightweight Double Sculls Women 7
Single Sculls Boys 3
Coxless Pairs Boys 3
Single Sculls Girls 3
Coxless Pairs Girls 3
Coxed Pairs (1 kilometre) Men 1
Coxed Pairs (1 mile) Men 1
Coxed Pairs Men 18
Coxed Fours Men 20
Coxed Fours, Outriggers Men 1
Coxed Fours, Inriggers Men 1
Lightweight Coxless Fours Men 6
6-Man Naval Rowing Boats Men 1
17-Man Naval Rowing Boats Men 1
Single Sculls, Intermediate Men 1
Single Sculls, Association Men 1
Double Sculls, Intermediate Men 1
Coxless Pairs, Intermediate Men 1
Coxless Fours, Intermediate Men 1
Eights, Intermediate Men 1
Coxed Fours Women 4
Coxed Quadruple Sculls Women 3