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Rowing’s long history dates back to its utility in warfare and transportation in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. The earliest known regatta was held in September 1274 in Venice, Italy where gondoliers and boatmen challenged each other in a variety of boats. Rowing as we know it today began to develop as a recreational and competitive sport in the 1700s, with amateur clubs flourishing at the collegiate level in England by the end of the 18th century. One of the most famous rowing regattas in the world, the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, was first held in 1829 followed 10 years later by the Henley Royal Regatta.

Rowing in Canada started on the east coast early in the 19th century and spread to the west coast during the next hundred years, with the first race being reported in Halifax Harbour in 1811. Canadian oarsmen from the Maritime Provinces were the first to establish a reputation for excellence. In 1867, a fours crew from Saint John, New Brunswick went to Paris for the International Exposition and won, becoming Canada’s first international sports champions.

Photo: Le Comité olympique canadien

Rowing was to be on the program of the first modern Olympic Games at Athens 1896, but poor weather led to the cancellation of events. The sport made its official Olympic debut four years later at Paris 1900 with events for men only. Women’s rowing first appeared on the Olympic program at Montreal 1976. Rowing has been on the Pan American Games program since the inaugural edition in 1951.

The boats, known as shells, were traditionally made of wood but are now mostly manufactured from synthetic materials such as carbon fibre and plastic.

Men's Eight Rowing



Rowing events are contested by individuals, pairs and crews of four and eight. They are divided into scull events (denoted by an ‘x’) and sweep events (denoted by ‘-‘ for boats without coxswains and ‘+’ for boats with coxswains). In sculling, each rower pulls two oars. In sweeping, each person in the boat pulls one oar.

A lightweight men’s crew will have an average weight of not more than 70kg, with no individual male lightweight rower weighing more than 72.5kg. A lightweight women’s crew will have an average weight of not more than 57kg, with no individual female lightweight rower weighing more than 59kg.

Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle

Each race covers a distance of 2000 metres on a six-lane course where each lane is 13.5m wide. Depending on the number of entries, there will be preliminary heats, repechages (the name for a second round of competition which ensures that a boat has two chances to advance from preliminary races to the next round), quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The “A” final determines the first six places and the “B” final determines seventh through 12th places.

Canadian Medallists







GoldArchie MacKinnon, Donald Arnold, Lorne Loomer, Walter D’Hondt1956 MelbourneCoxless Four - Men -
GoldGeorge Hungerford, Roger Jackson1964 TokyoCoxless Pair - Men -
GoldBlair Horn, Brian McMahon, Dean Crawford, Grant Main, Michael Evans, Kevin Neufeld, Mark Evans, Pat Turner, Paul Steele1984 Los AngelesCoxed Eight - Men -
GoldBrenda Taylor, Jessica Monroe, Kay Worthington, Kirsten Barnes1992 BarcelonaCoxless Four - Women -
GoldKathleen Heddle, Marnie McBean1992 BarcelonaCoxless Pair - Women -
GoldAndy Crosby, Bruce Robertson, Darren Barber, Derek Porter, John Wallace, Michael Forgeron, Michael Rascher, Robert Marland, Terry Paul1992 BarcelonaCoxed Eight - Men -
GoldBrenda Taylor, Jessica Monroe, Kathleen Heddle, Kay Worthington, Kirsten Barnes, Lesley Thompson-Willie, Marnie McBean, Megan Delehanty, Shannon Crawford1992 BarcelonaCoxed Eight - Women -
GoldKathleen Heddle, Marnie McBean1996 AtlantaDouble Sculls - Women -
GoldAdam Kreek, Ben Rutledge, Brian Price, Dominic Seiterle, Jake Wetzel, Andrew Byrnes, Kevin Light, Kyle Hamilton, Malcolm Howard2008 BeijingCoxed Eight - Men -
SilverArthur Bailey, Donald McKenzie, George Reiffenstein, George Strange, Joseph Wright, Phil Boyd, Thomas Loudon, William Rice, William Wadsworth1904 St. LouisCoxed Eight - Men -
SilverArchie Black, Colin Finlayson, George MacKay, William Wood1924 ParisCoxless Four - Men -
SilverArthur Bell, Harold Little, Ivor Campbell, John Smith, Norman Taylor, Robert Hunter, Warren Snyder, William Langford, William Wallace1924 ParisCoxed Eight - Men -
SilverJack Guest, Joseph Wright Jr1928 AmsterdamDouble Sculls - Men -
SilverCarlton Ogawa, David Helliwell, Douglas McDonald, Lawrence West, Philip Kueber, Richard McClure, Robert Wilson, Wayne Pretty, William McKerlich1956 MelbourneCoxed Eight - Men -
SilverArchie MacKinnon, David Anderson, Donald Arnold, Glen Mervyn, John Lecky, Nelson Kuhn, Sohen Biln, Walter D’Hondt, William McKerlich1960 RomeCoxed Eight - Men -
SilverElizabeth Craig, Tricia Smith1984 Los AngelesCoxless Pair - Women -
SilverAngela Schneider, Barbara Armbrust, Jane Tregunno, Lesley Thompson-Willie, Marilyn Brain1984 Los AngelesCoxed Four - Women -
SilverAlison Korn, Anna Van der Kamp, Emma Robinson, Heather McDermid, Jessica Monroe, Lesley Thompson-Willie, Maria Maunder, Theresa Luke, Tosha Tsang1996 AtlantaCoxed Eight - Women -
SilverBrian Peaker, David Boyes, Gavin Hassett, Jeffrey Lay1996 AtlantaLightweight Four - Men -
SilverDerek Porter1996 AtlantaSingle Sculls - Men -
SilverSilken Laumann1996 AtlantaSingle Sculls - Women -
SilverBarney Williams, Cameron Baerg, Jake Wetzel, Thomas Herschmiller2004 AthensCoxless Four - Men -
SilverDavid Calder, Scott Frandsen2008 BeijingCoxless Pair - Men -
SilverGabe Bergen, Jeremiah Brown, Andrew Byrnes, Will Crothers, Douglas Csima, Rob Gibson, Malcolm Howard, Conlin McCabe, Brian Price2012 LondonCoxed Eight - Men -
SilverAshley Brzozowicz, Janine Hanson, Krista Guloien, Darcy Marquardt, Natalie Mastracci, Andréanne Morin, Lesley Thompson-Willie, Rachelle Viinberg, Lauren Wilkinson2012 LondonCoxed Eight - Women -
BronzeEverard Butler1912 StockholmSingle Sculls - Men -
BronzeAthol Meech, Edgar Norris, Frank Fiddes, Frederick Hedges, Herbert Richardson, Jack Murdoch, John Donnelly, John Hand, William Ross1928 AmsterdamCoxed Eight - Men -
BronzeCharles Pratt, Noel de Mille1932 Los AngelesDouble Sculls - Men -
BronzeAlbert Taylor, Cedric Liddell, Donald Boal, Earl Eastwood, George MacDonald, Harry Fry, Joseph Harris, Stanley Stanyar, William Thoburn1932 Los AngelesCoxed Eight - Men -
BronzeDaniele Laumann, Silken Laumann1984 Los AngelesDouble Sculls - Women -
BronzeBruce Ford, Doug Hamilton, Michael Hughes, Phil Monckton1984 Los AngelesQuadruple Sculls - Men -
BronzeRobert Mills1984 Los AngelesSingle Sculls - Men -
BronzeSilken Laumann1992 BarcelonaSingle Sculls - Women -
BronzeDiane O’Grady, Kathleen Heddle, Laryssa Biesenthal, Marnie McBean1996 AtlantaQuadruple Sculls - Women -
BronzeAlison Korn, Buffy Williams, Dorota Urbaniak, Emma Robinson, Heather Davis, Heather McDermid, Laryssa Biesenthal, Lesley Thompson-Willie, Theresa Luke2000 SydneyCoxed Eight - Women -
BronzeLiam Parsons, Iain Brambell, Jonathan Beare, Mike Lewis2008 BeijingLightweight Four - Men -
BronzeTracy Cameron, Melanie Kok2008 BeijingLightweight Double Sculls - Women -
Olympic Club

TO2015 Daily RecapSee All

Day 16 Recap: Canada ends Toronto 2015 with 217 medals

Upcoming GamesSee All

Rio 2016

Rio 2016

History will be made in 2016 when Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosts the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, marking the first time that a South American country will welcome the world to an Olympic Games. It is also just the third time that the Games will be held in the southern hemisphere, following Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000.

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