Rowing: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Rowing: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

One of the few Olympic sports subject to weather and pristine conditions, rowing is all set to take place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is a sport that sees the first and third words of the Olympic Motto (Citius and Fortius) come to the fore. Following its cancellation (because of bad weather) at Athens in 1896, rowing has been successfully conducted at every subsequent Olympics Games. Women's rowing events began with the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. 

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand celebrates with his gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's Single Sculls final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 3, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The most successful nation in Olympic rowing is the USA with 89 medals (33 Gold, 32 Silver, and 24 Bronze). Rowing's most successful competitor is Romania's Elisabeta Lipa who competed in six Olympic Games from Los Angeles 1984 to Athens 2004. She claimed medals, competing in both sculls and sweep events.  

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What began as a five-event program in the Paris Olympics in 1900, currently has 14 medal events as part of its program for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Rowing at the Tokyo 2020

The biggest change in the rowing program at the 2020 Olympiad will see 14 events split equally between men's and women's events. The men's lightweight four made way for the women's four. 

Top Rowers at the Tokyo Olympics

Team USA will send in a squad of 37 rowers. This will include the likes of Austin Hack (men's eight), Kara Kohler (Single Sculls), Dr. Genevra Stone (Double Sculls).

Meghan Musnicki (Women's eight) will seek to stand on the podium for the third time at an Olympic Games. Previously, she claimed medals in London and Rio. Hence, she is a two-time defending champion. Moe Sbihi, who claimed gold in Rio in the Men's four, will return to his London 2012 event i.e. the men's eight, where he claimed Bronze. 

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 06: Genevra Stone of the United States competes during the Women's Single Sculls Heat 2 on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Lagoa Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australia's squad will see Joshua Booth, Cameron Girdlestone, and Alexander Hill strive to earn a medal for the second time. 

Helen Glover and Polly Swann (Women's Pair) will look to win medals once more at the Sea Forest Waterway. While the former is a two-time defending gold medalist, Swann claimed silver at Rio 2016. The duo is among eight returning British rowers from a 45-member strong contingent.

Competition format

In rowing, a repechage event is a norm allowing all participants from the heats to earn a second shot at advancing to the next stage (quarter-final, Semi-final, or final) based on the event. 

Scott Durant, Tom Ransley, Andrew T Hodge, Matt Gotrel, Pete Reed, Paul Bennett, Matt Langridge, William Satch, Phelan Hill of Great Britain in action during the Men's Eight Heat of the Rowing events during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Lagoa Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8 August 2016. Photo: Soeren Stache/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images)

From here, the participants compete across three more rounds in order to win a medal in the single Sculls events. In the pair, double Sculls and lightweight double sculls events, the semi-final follows the Heats and the Repechage rounds. However, in the Four, Eight, and Quadruple Sculls, the Heats and the Repechage toppers directly qualify for the finals. 

Types of Rowing

Sculling and Sweeping are the two types of Rowing events set to take place at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021. In sculls, a rower holds one oar in each hand. In sweep, a rower holds one oar with both hands. Sweep events see the rowers have a single oar that is approximately one-meter longer (3.9 m) than the oars used in scull events (3m). Both types of Rowing result in a test of timing and coordination among teammates. 

Schedule for Rowing at Tokyo 2020

As Rowing is an outdoor sport, the schedule can be subject to change because of inclement weather. However, this is the proposed schedule for the 14 events across Sculls and Sweep. 

EventHeatsRepechageQuarter-FinalsSemi-FinalsFinals
Men’s Single ScullsJuly 23July 24July 26July 27 & 28July 29 & 30
Men’s PairJuly 24July 25N/AJuly 27July 29
Men’s Double ScullsJuly 23July 24N/AJuly 26July 28
Men’s Lightweight Double ScullsJuly 24July 25N/AJuly 27July 29
Men’s FourJuly 24July 26N/AN/AJuly 28
Men’s Quadruple ScullsJuly 23July 25N/AN/AJuly 27
Men’s EightJuly 25July 28N/AN/AJuly 30
Women’s Single ScullsJuly 23July 24July 26July 27 & 28July 29 & 30
Women’s PairJuly 24July 25N/AJuly 27July 29
Women’s Double ScullsJuly 23July 24N/AJuly 26July 28
Women’s Lightweight Double ScullsJuly 24July 25N/AJuly 27July 29
Women’s FourJuly 24July 26N/AN/AJuly 28
Women’s Quadruple ScullsJuly 23July 25N/AN/AJuly 27
Women’s EightJuly 25July 28N/AN/AJuly 30

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Venue for Rowing at Tokyo Olympics

Rowing at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021 will take place at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay. 

VenueSea Forest Waterway
DateJuly 23-July 30
ChannelPeacock TV (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Eurosport Player (Europe), TSN (Canada), Channel 7 (Australia), Sony LIV (India)
Total Players competing in Rowing at Tokyo Olympics 2020526 
Most medals in the sportUSA 89

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