1992 Barcelona Olympics. Rowing, Mens Coxless Fours


Olympic Rowing and Para Rowing

Rowing was introduced to the Olympic program in 1900 at the first Summer Olympics. It was initially only for men. Women’s rowing events were introduced at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Olympic rowing athletes race on a 2,000-meter course and use unique oar strokes to sync perfectly as a team. There are different rowing boat classes: single sculls, doubles, doubles sculls, fours, eights, with and without coxswains.

Rowing gold medals were won by American Jack Kelly, who rowed to gold in the single sculls and then the double scull at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. Kelly’s son, John Kelly Jr. rowed at four Olympic Games. Another American, Paul Costello, won gold at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, making him one of only five rowers to win gold at three Olympic Games.

The United States men’s eight won a gold medal in men’s eight rowing for 40 years in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, when the American men’s team won gold with a one-second margin against the Netherlands

In women’s eight rowing, the United States won its first women’s gold since 1984 in Beijing on the last day of the 2008 Games. The United States women’s eight continued to dominate rowing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Fun Facts on Olympic Rowing

  • Rowing is one of the oldest Olympic sports, debuting in the 2004 BC Games in Greece.
  • Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the modern Olympics founder, was a passionate rower.
  • Unlike most sports, rowers compete facing backward, allowing athletes to use their powerful leg muscles more effectively and synchronize their strokes with greater precision.

Paralympic Rowing (Para Rowing)

image of para rowing paralympic team

The Paralympic rowing debut at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games marked a pivotal moment with four boat classes featuring athletes across various disability categories. Since then, the sport has continued to grow, adding the PR3 Mixed Double Sculls event in 2016 and attracting participation from more countries worldwide.Olympic para rowing is similar to Olympic rowing with a few exceptions.

Para rowing athletes use special boats and equipment that can be used by those with different impairment types. These competitors have physical, intellectual, or visual impairments based on the severity and impact on rowing ability.

Jacqueline Burns holds the record for most pararowing medals for the USA with 4 medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze), achieved across 2008, 2012, and 2016 Paralympic Games. While Laura Goodison has fewer total medals (3 bronze medals across the 2012 and 2016 Games), she boasts 3 consecutive bronze medals and consistently ranks in the top 3 in her competition category.

With ongoing efforts to increase participation and awareness, para rowing promises to continue its exciting journey, leaving a trail of broken records and unwavering determination.

Fun Facts on Paralympic Rowing

  • Athletes compete across 14 disability classifications, whether physical, visual, or intellectual impairments.
  • Para rowing features custom-designed equipment that meets athletes’ needs, from single sculls with modified seats to tandem shells for visually impaired competitors.
  • Great Britain has claimed over half the Olympic gold medals awarded so far.

Rowing Hall of Famers

Jack Kelly Sr.

Snubbed by the elite Diamond Sculls, Jack Kelly Sr. entered the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games just to gain a measure of revenge. He did just that, claiming gold medals in the single and double scull.

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Notable moments


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