|Competitions held||254 (Venues)|
|IF||Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron|
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 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 compete in a streamlined program, with only one sweep event for four oarswomen, but they also compete in single, double, and quad sculls, and the eight-oar sweep event. 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 have won five gold medals: Elisabeta Oleniuc-Lipă, Steven Redgrave, Georgeta Damian-Andrunache.
The world governing body of rowing is the Fédération internationale des sociétés d’aviron (FISA), which was formed 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. As of 2018 the FISA has 153 member nations.
|People's Republic of China||CHN||1||4||4||9|
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|
|Lightweight Double Sculls||Men||6|
|Lightweight Coxless Fours||Men||6|
|Lightweight Double Sculls||Women||6|
|Coxed Pairs (1 kilometres)||Men||1|
|Coxed Pairs (1 mile)||Men||1|
|Coxed Fours, Outriggers||Men||1|
|Coxed Fours, Inriggers||Men||1|
|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|
|Coxed Eights, Intermediate||Men||1|
|Coxed Quadruple Sculls||Women||3|