Boats compete in two basic categories: sculling and sweep
rowing. Both men's and women's races are rowed on a
2,000-meter course no matter what the event.
In sweep rowing, two, four, or eight crewmembers
sit facing the stern of the boat, each rower
pulling one oar. In some of the pairs and fours
events, the vessel is steered by a non-rowing "coxswain" (pronounced
cox-n) who sits in the stern of the boat, facing
the crew. The job of the coxswain is to steer
the boat, decide tactics, and establish and
maintain the speed and rhythm of the strokes
of the rowers.
The other form of rowing, in which no coxswain
is used, is called "sculling," or "scull
racing." It is performed singly, by a
pair, or by four rowers. Each rower, or "sculler," faces
the stern and pulls a pair or oars.
Olympic racing employs a double-elimination system, whereby
each rower or crew gets at least two chances to compete.
Competitors go through a series of elimination heats
until only six crews or boats remain for the finals.
and Fast Facts
- Row on over to Athens
2004 for more information and the Olympic venues.
- Get news and notes on the national level
- The USOC site
is a one-stop source for Olympic rowing history,
a rowing rulebook, and a convenient glossary.
- The I.O.C. serves
up news reports, an overview of rowing and
explanations of rowing
terminology and special
- Check out the international rowing scene
on the International Rowing Federation's (FISA) Web
- What does physics have
to do with it?
General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this summer. Even though Gateway
to the Summer Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and
every one by visiting the sites listed below.