The history of rowing, as a sport and not just as a way to get around to places, is almost as old as civilization itself. Once used to be a widely practiced sport many centuries ago, rowing has now declined in popularity due to the rise of other sports such as basketball. Despite that, rowing has still been practiced many parts of the world; in some areas it is considered a tradition. Here are the other interesting facts about rowing!
Modern rowing started when boatmen who offered ferry and taxi services in London began to compete against each other across the Thames River for money prizes offered by the London guilds.
An “eight” is a rowing boat that is steered by eight rowers and one coxswain or cox. This type of boat is mainly used for competitions. Each of the eight rowers has one oar, and the cox sits on the stern. He is responsible for the steering of the vessel as well as keeping the pace and the rhythm of the rowers.
Rowing at the Paralympics was only introduced pretty recently — in 2008 in Beijing, China. Both male and female rowers participated in the event. The sport was split into four boat classes, which were more than 1,000 meters. Unlike the usual rowing at most sporting events, the rowing at the Paralympics has an “adaptive rowing,” which means the vessel and the equipment specifically designed to adapt to the athlete, rather than the sport itself adapting to the athlete.
Rowing could have been first unveiled in the 1896 Summer Olympics but it was canceled due to bad weather; four years later rowing was formally introduced.
It was not until 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics that women were finally allowed to compete.
The “Doggett’s Coat and Badge” has been the oldest-known existing rowing event in the world since 1715. It is the race between the London Bridge and the Chelsea Harbor held on London’s the River Thames.
The earliest recorded evidence of rowing as a sport (and not just a mode of transportation) is depicted on a 15th-century BC funeral carving for Pharaoh Amenhotep II who was also reportedly known for his rowing prowess.
The River Lagan is Northern Ireland’s major river which has been used by several rowing clubs in Belfast. These include the Queen University’s Boat Club, the Methodist College Boat Club and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, among others.
For much of rowing’s history, it has been a male-dominated sport. Although women were finally allowed to compete at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, women started to take rowing as early as the 15th century. When an Italian duchess visited Venice visited Venice in the late 1400’s a regatta was mounted in which over 50 peasant women took part. Modern rowing for women started way back in 19th century.
Rowing can also be executed without a coxswain. This image depicts the men’s lightweight coxless four at the 2012 London Summer Olympics which took place at Dorney Lake. This lake, near the village of Dorney, Buckinghamshire and the River Thames, was built specifically for rowing.
Amateur rowing competitions started towards the end of the 1700’s with the advent of “boat clubs” at British public schools such as Eaton.
University rowing has been popular in England since it began at Oxford also in the late 1700s, but the first recorded university rowing competition took place also at Oxford which pitted the Brasenose College and Jesus College.
Intercollegiate rowing in England grew further when Oxford and Cambridge competed against each other in June 1829.