London Spy

Sport guide: Rowing

London Spy

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OVERVIEW:

Five successive rowing gold medals cemented the status of Steve Redgrave — now Sir Steve — as Great Britain's most successful Olympian. He is also the most successful man in the history of the sport at the Games. Only Elisabeta Lipă has achieved more.

Redgrave's success began with victory in the coxed fours in 1984 and continued with successive gold medals for the coxless pairs in Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta, after which he famously announced his retirement. But in 2000 he returned to win gold again, this time in the coxless fours.

A bronze from the coxed pairs in 1988 gives Redgrave a total of six medals, two fewer than the Romanian Lipă, who also collected two silvers in a career spanning 20 years from 1984.

London will stage 14 rowing events, eight for men and six for women, ranging from single sculls for individual rowers to teams of eight plus a cox. A repechage system will give a second chance of progress to boats which don't qualify automatically from the heats.

Rowing has been a part of every Games since 1900 — it was cancelled because of bad weather in 1896 — and women entered from 1976.

The United States has won the most medals, with 84 compared to 54 for Great Britain. But much of America's success is historic — 13 of the medals came at St Louis in 1904 when the only opponent was one team from Canada, and they have only won four gold medals since 1964.

East Germany's leading total of 33 gold medals also presents a false picture because 11 came from the boycott-hit Moscow Games and because the nation's entire Olympic effort is tainted by allegations of drug use.

Modern rowing is one of the most open events at the Games. In Beijing the 14 gold medals were shared between 12 nations, in Athens between 11 and in Sydney between 10.

EVENTS / FAVOURITES / FORMAT:
MEN'S SINGLE SCULLS
1. Czech Republic (Czech Republic)
2. New Zealand (New Zealand)
3. Great Britain (Great Britain)
4. Norway (Norway)
5. Germany (Germany)
6. Sweden (Sweden)
7. Cuba (Cuba)
8. Belgium (Belgium)
MEN'S PAIR
1. New Zealand (New Zealand)
2. Great Britain (Great Britain)
3. Greece (Greece)
4. Italy (Italy)
5. Canada (Canada)
6. Germany (Germany)
7. Australia (Australia)
8. South Africa (South Africa)
MEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT DOUBLE SCULLS
1. New Zealand (New Zealand)
2. Great Britain (Great Britain)
3. Italy (Italy)
4. France (France)
5. Germany (Germany)
6. Denmark (Denmark)
7. Canada (Canada)
8. Greece (Greece)
MEN'S DOUBLE SCULLS
1. Germany (Germany)
2. New Zealand (New Zealand)
3. France (France)
4. Great Britain (Great Britain)
5. Australia (Australia)
6. Estonia (Estonia)
7. Slovenia (Slovenia)
8. Norway (Norway)
MEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR
1. Great Britain (Great Britain)
2. Denmark (Denmark)
3. Australia (Australia)
4. China (China)
5. Italy (Italy)
6. Germany (Germany)
7. France (France)
8. Poland (Poland)
MEN'S FOUR
1. Great Britain (Great Britain)
2. Greece (Greece)
3. Australia (Australia)
4. France (France)
5. New Zealand (New Zealand)
6. United States (United States)
7. Germany (Germany)
8. Belarus (Belarus)
MEN'S QUADRUPLE SCULLS
1. Croatia (Croatia)
2. Germany (Germany)
3. Australia (Australia)
4. Poland (Poland)
5. Italy (Italy)
6. Great Britain (Great Britain)
7. Russia (Russia)
8. France (France)
MEN'S EIGHT
1. Germany (Germany)
2. Great Britain (Great Britain)
3. Canada (Canada)
4. Netherlands (Netherlands)
5. Poland (Poland)
6. Australia (Australia)
7. China (China)
8. United States (United States)
WOMEN'S SINGLE SCULLS
1. Belarus (Belarus)
2. Czech Republic (Czech Republic)
3. New Zealand (New Zealand)
4. China (China)
5. Sweden (Sweden)
6. Great Britain (Great Britain)
7. Australia (Australia)
8. Germany (Germany)
WOMEN'S PAIR
1. New Zealand (New Zealand)
2. Great Britain (Great Britain)
3. United States (United States)
4. Australia (Australia)
5. Romania (Romania)
6. China (China)
7. Germany (Germany)
8. Canada (Canada)
WOMEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT DOUBLE SCULLS
1. Greece (Greece)
2. Great Britain (Great Britain)
3. Canada (Canada)
4. Germany (Germany)
5. United States (United States)
6. China (China)
7. Australia (Australia)
8. Poland (Poland)
WOMEN'S DOUBLE SCULLS
1. Great Britain (Great Britain)
2. Australia (Australia)
3. Poland (Poland)
4. Germany (Germany)
5. New Zealand (New Zealand)
6. Czech Republic (Czech Republic)
7. United States (United States)
8. Ukraine (Ukraine)
WOMEN'S QUADRUPLE SCULLS
1. Germany (Germany)
2. Ukraine (Ukraine)
3. Great Britain (Great Britain)
4. United States (United States)
5. New Zealand (New Zealand)
6. China (China)
7. Australia (Australia)
8. Italy (Italy)
WOMEN'S EIGHT
1. United States (United States)
2. Canada (Canada)
3. Romania (Romania)
4. Great Britain (Great Britain)
5. Netherlands (Netherlands)
6. Germany (Germany)
7. China (China)
8. Poland (Poland)

All events are held over a 2000 metre course and begin with the heats from which the best boats will qualify for the next round. Boats that do not qualify automatically from the heats get a second chance to qualify through the repechage round. The best boats eventually progress through the various stages and into the finals of each event, which decide the medallists.

The format of the competition depends on how many boats are competing. Events with 12 or fewer boats start with two heats and the best boats in heats 1 and 2 qualify for the final. Unsuccessful boats from the heats compete in the repechage round which offers a second chance to qualify for the final. Events with 13–24 boats begin with heats from which the best boats qualify directly for semi-finals. All other boats progress to the repechage round which offers a second chance to qualify for the semi-finals. The best three boats in the semi-finals qualify for the final. If there are more than 24 boats in an event, the four best boats from each heat go through to the quarter-finals with the other boats competing in a repechage to fill the remaining quarter-final places. The best three boats from each quarter-final progress to the semi-finals with the top three from each semi-final advancing to final.

There are eight Sculling events in which the rower has two oars and six events in which the rower has just one oar held with both hands. In eights, a coxswain sits at the back of the boat. In the lightweight events, no man can be heavier than 70kg and no woman can be heavier than 55kg.

ALL-TIME MEDAL TABLE:

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