Monday, March 14, 2016

Do you know how Rowing Sports competitions are like at the Summer Olympics?

The origin of Summer Olympics rowing

Rowing is a fairly recent sport, compared to other Summer Olympics sports like athletics, archery, fencing, wrestling and even swimming which have been part of society's recreational events since time immemorial. Rowing can be traced back to the 1828 first boat race in United Kingdom’s two most popular universities; the Oxford and Cambridge universities.

However despite its recent development, rowing was part of the Athens 1896 Summer Olympics scheduled sports only to fail to take place due to bad weather, but this was not the case in the other subsequent Olympics editions as it has featured in all the 28 games. Rowing will also feature in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and therefore understanding it is important to enable yo not only enjoy this high octane and exciting sport but also understand how the scoring is done.

Summer Olympics Rowing is a highly competitive sport that makes fans hearts race as they watch individuals and team battle it out where like athletics, the team of individual who finishes first wins, there is no way you are going to miss it if you ever watch it and the opportunity to do so is coming in Rio’s Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Copacabana venue clusters, during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro's city of Brazil.

There have been many medalist in the rowing sport since its debut in the 1900 Summer Olympics, such is Hermann Barrelet; a French rower who was among the first gold medalists in the 1900 Summer Olympics sport in the single scull event.

A photograph of French rower Hermann Barrelet, a 1900 Summer Olympics gold medalist.

The photo is from Wikipedia with a Creative Commons License.

Is rowing recreational or a competitive sport?

Rowing is either recreational as we always do, take a boat and row for fun or it can be a competitive sport like it happens in the Olympics. Whichever type of rowing you engage with or are planning to, it’s all about fun and being active. Rowing therefore can be described as a competitive sport or it can also be recreational and as a way of keeping fit.

When you take rowing a recreational activity, it’s a basic and simple activity as one only need to get into a boat, take it to the sea or even a river and enjoy oneself. Competitive rowing is not that simple as I have mentioned above, it’s a test of agility, stamina and focus and hence for one to compete in rowing, there is a requirement for a long first hand training. This training is necessary to help one build strength as well as stamina, besides the skills of being competitive to win in any of the rowing sporting competitions.

What are the types of rowing competitions and events that feature at the Summer Olympics

The competitive rowing in the Summer Olympics is usually based on two types of rowing, with the first type requiring the rower to use just a single oar, and in such instances the rower practically rows the boat. The second type of competitive rowing is where two oars are used by a single rower.

In competitive championships rowing can be described as single for one individual or team competition. Rowing teams may have their boat steered by another special rower known as coxswain or in short cox. Besides steering the boat, the cox has other responsibilities which include being the boat’s on board coach and as such be in a position to offer tactical advice during the competitions. As a coach, the cox is also able to provide the other rowing opponents’ actions and moves and this allows for better winning chances.

Therefore, a cox must a person who can motivate the team especially during hard times and be a good judge of situations. With all the above duties and requirements one would expect the cox to be a huge person, but no. To the contrary, to become a cox in Summer Olympics rowing sport, one must be lighter in weight with a limit of 55 kilograms for men and 50 kilograms for women as this ensures that the boat is not overweight and this a key success factor for any rowing team.

There are some instances in Summer Olympics history which illustrates the importance of a cox. Such instance includes the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics where a boy from the cheering crowd was selected to act as a Cox for the Netherlands team of Fracois Antoine Brandt and Roel of Klein and the two went ahead and won a gold medal.

Things have changed, the cox of the olden days used to carry a loud speaker to enable them to give instructions but with the modern technology, this has changed and each rower has some speakers that capture the cox instructions

There are some rowing sports which may have or not have a cox and hence there are various variations of rowing races in Summer Olympics.

Rowing in the Summer Olympics, like the Rio 2016 scheduled for August may feature team or individuals formats. Teams can be of eight, six, four and even two and such teams can compete, either with a cox or without a cox. When a cox is not used, such rowing is referred to as scull.

Other formats of rowing maybe the double sails. Teams can choose to use a single oar each person or two oars, it all depends with rules of the game. A double sails is a team activity, while on the other hand a single sail is one player with two oars. In summary, a competing crew can be made of eight, six, fours, two or a single individual either with or without a Cox; a team of all Scullers who steers themselves.

In rowing the team boats are usually designed for assignments and heavier than normal individual boats. Besides the rowers are segmented as Cox or Scullers and at times regarded as Oar-men or Oar-women. Further grading can be based on the rowers experience i.e. novices, juniors, Junior-seniors and seniors and one goes up the ladder when they win more races or competition. This is not very common today, but was a classification in the early editions of the Summer Olympics.

Rowing is governed and regulated by the International Rowing Federation which is known as FISA and in the Summer Olympics edition 14 rowing events are featured. These 14 events for both men and women and includes, rowing events like sculls which are broken down to single, double and quadruple. The Olympics rowing also have events for coxless pair which is for two rowers and these coxless events are also carried among teams of four.

Summer Olympics also have events for lightweight men and women events in double sculls and plus men coxless fours. As a tradition in Summer Olympics, a team with eight rowers always has a cox. It was only in 1900 and 1904 that the Junior, Novice, Association, and Intermediate.