Between now and next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio we will be focusing on the different sports and Team GB athletes to keep an eye out for. The latest Olympic Spotlight sees us concentrate on rowing.
WHERE: Lagoa Stadium
WHEN: August 6-13
MEDAL EVENTS: 14 (Men: single sculls, double sculls, lightweight double sculls, coxless pair, quadruple sculls, coxless four, lightweight coxless four, eight. Women: single sculls, double sculls, lightweight double sculls, quadruple sculls, coxless pair, eight)
DID YOU KNOW:
At the Paris Olympics in 1900, a French boy was plucked from the crowd to act as cox for Dutch rowers François Antoine Brandt and Roelof Klein, guiding them to a gold medal!
ABOUT THE SPORT:
The history of rowing as a sport has one of the oldest traditions in the world. This includes the first official Boat Race in 1829 between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, an annual tradition that continues to this day and is perhaps the most famous rowing race in the world.
Rowing has featured at every modern Olympic Games with the exception of the first, in Athens 1896, when poor weather forced the cancellation of the event.
Women were first allowed to row at the Olympics in 1976 at the Montreal Games, but it took 24 years for Team GB’s female rowers to win their first medal when the quadruple sculls team of Guin Batten, Miriam Batten, Katherine Grainger and Gillian Lindsay took home silver at the Sydney games in 2000.
550 athletes in 215 boats will compete for medals this summer across all disciplines of rowing, with the majority of spots having been awarded based on the results of the 2015 World Rowing Championships.
It is boats rather than individual athletes that qualify for spots at the Championships, so the places are awarded to National Olympic Committees who then select their rowers at a later date.
Further berths are distributed at continental qualifying events in Asia and Oceania, Africa, Latin America, and Europe, with the European regatta taking place in Lucerne, Switzerland on May 22-24.
Team GB is currently on course to field the biggest squad in Rio, having qualified 12 crews and 43 athletes across all but two disciplines so far – the women’s single and quadruple sculls.
DID YOU KNOW: Team GB have won at least one rowing gold medal at every Olympic Games since 1984.
TEAM GB SUCCESS:
Up until and including London 2012, Team GB has won 63 Olympic medals, of which 28 have been gold.
Saint George Ashe won Great Britain’s first ever rowing medal in 1900 at the Games in Paris, a year in which the French dominated the sport’s medal table.
It took until Beijing 2008 to win Team GB’s first ever lightweight gold medal, and an extra four years for the women to notch a place at the top of the podium, when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning became the first British women to win Olympic rowing gold.
In 2012, the team won a record nine medals after qualifying boats for all but one event on home water, the most successful Games for our rowers since 1908.
Sir Steve Redgrave, who appeared at five consecutive Games between 1984 and 2000, is Britain’s most decorated rower, with five gold medals and one bronze to his name.
TEAM GB HOPES FOR RIO:
While Team GB are yet to confirm the rowing squad heading to Rio this summer, there are some names to keep an eye out for when British Rowing’s Olympic trials take place this week.
Alex Gregory, Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge won men’s four gold in London alongside the now retired Tom James and will be aiming to feature for the team again while Matt Langridge, Stan Louloudis, Mohamed Sbihi and Will Satch are just some of the men’s eight bronze medallists from London targeting more in Rio.
For the women, Olympic champion Katherine Grainger has come out of retirement in pursuit of another appearance for Team GB at Rio while the women’s coxless pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning showed they mean business with gold at last year’s World Championships.