How To Watch Rowing at The Olympics

If you’re a rowing fan and were planning on attending the Olympics this year, then we have some bad news; due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions, you won’t be able to make it. But never fear! Even if you can’t attend in person, there are still plenty of ways for rowers around the world – or just at home – to keep up with all the action as competitors race down their lanes in search of a medal.

In this article, we walk through how you can watch rowing at this summer’s Olympic games so that, even without being able to attend in person, nothing will come between your cheering and your favourite athletes.

The Rowing Races and Records

There are several rowing events at the Olympic Games, each with distance and boat configuration. Here are the most common events and their current Olympic record times:

  • Men’s single sculls (2000m): 6:33.35, set by Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand in 2012.
  • Women’s single sculls (2000m): 7:07.93, set by Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus in 2012.
  • Men’s double sculls (2000m): 6:08.50, set by Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia in 2016.
  • Women’s double sculls (2000m): 6:41.34, set by Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger of Great Britain in 2012.
  • Men’s quadruple sculls (2000m): 5:32.26, set by Germany in 2012.
  • Women’s quadruple sculls (2000m): 6:09.39, set by Ukraine in 2014.
  • Men’s pair (2000m): 6:08.50, tied between New Zealand in 2012 and Italy in 2021.
  • Women’s pair (2000m): 7:05.69, set by Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain in 2016.

It’s worth noting that these records can change from year to year as athletes continue to improve their performances. You can find more information about rowing at the Olympic Games on the official website of the International Olympic Committee:

Get to Know the Rules

Here are the official rules for rowing at the Olympic Games, as set by the International Rowing Federation (FISA):

  • Races are held over a 2000m course.
  • Boats must be propelled by the action of oars only; no motors or sails are allowed.
  • Each boat must have eight rowers (with coxswain), four rowers (without coxswain), or two rowers (without coxswain).
  • Boats must start from a stationary position and must remain in their lane throughout the race.
  • A minimum weight limit for boats varies depending on the category (e.g. lightweight women’s double sculls must weigh a minimum of 420kg).

More information about rowing rules at the Olympic Games is here:

Follow The Races Live

Watching a rowing race at the Olympics is all about the thrill of the competition, and intense anticipation as each team glides across the water in pursuit of excellence. With so many races taking place over a limited period, keeping up with the events can be challenging.

However, with all of today’s technology, there are more ways than ever to follow and stay up-to-date on the happenings of Olympic rowing by streaming coverage live and get immediate updates on results.

Not only will you experience first-hand the thrilling moments of watching these competitors fight for gold medals, but you can also find yourself investing even more profoundly in rooting for your favourite teams and athletes to take home the top prizes.

Understand Different Components in the Races

Watching rowing races during the Olympics can be both thrilling and confusing. Understanding the different components at play during a race is essential for any viewer looking to get an enjoyable experience out of the event.

Races consist of crews of athletes, boats that can be singles, doubles, or eights, and many coaches and judges who ensure a level playing field. Together they create a thrilling sport that can lead to dramatic finishes that last through the rest of the competition.

By familiarising yourself with these components and how they come together during each race, you can increase your enjoyment while watching rowing at the Olympics – enhancing your overall experience!

Learn About The Racers’ Strategies

Olympic rowers use a variety of strategies to win their races. Here are some common tactics:

  1. Strong start: Rowers often aim to get off to a strong start with explosive strokes that propel the boat forward quickly.
  2. Consistent pacing: Maintaining a consistent pace throughout the race is crucial for success in rowing. Athletes will work on developing and sticking to a rhythm even as fatigue sets in.
  3. Mental toughness: Rowers must be mentally tough and focused during their races, especially when facing unfavourable weather conditions or competing against strong opponents.
  4. Strategic positioning: In races with multiple boats, rowers may position themselves strategically relative to their opponents, such as staying close behind until the final stretch, where they can make a push for the finish line.
  5. Technical proficiency: Good technique is essential for efficient rowing, and Olympic athletes spend countless hours honing their skills and perfecting their strokes.
  6. Adaptability: Rowers must adapt quickly to changing conditions during a race, such as wind or current shifts.

Overall, winning in Olympic rowing requires a combination of physical fitness, technical skill, mental fortitude, and strategic thinking.

Who are The Favorites to Watch Out For This Year

Rowing has several categories: single sculls, double sculls, quadruple sculls, coxless pairs, and eights. Here are some of the top rowers in each category:

  • Single Sculls: Emma Twigg (New Zealand), Sanita Puspure (Ireland), Jeannine Gmelin (Switzerland), Magdalena Lobnig (Austria)
  • Double Sculls: Brooke Donoghue and Hannah Osborne (New Zealand), Vicky Thornley and Katherine Grainger (Great Britain), Annekatrin Thiele and Leonie Menzel (Germany)
  • Quadruple Sculls: Germany’s Franziska Kampmann, Frieda Haemmerling, Carlotta Nwajide, and Michaela Staelberg has been dominant recently.
  • Coxless Pairs: Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler (New Zealand), Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser (USA), Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens (Canada)
  • Eights: The United States women’s team has been the defending Olympic champion since 2016. Other top teams include Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Remember that these lists are not exhaustive, and many talented rowers compete at a high level worldwide.

The Olympics is an excellent chance for rowing enthusiasts to learn more about the sport. It provides an opportunity to watch top-level competition with the bonus of experiencing the rich history behind rowing. As you prepare for this year’s Olympics, make sure you know the rules, competitors and strategies that make up different aspects of this exhilarating sport. Research who judges and others might favour and whether dark horses could surprise us all.

You can follow along with all the races live as they unfold, better understand rowing tactics, and see some incredible feats accomplished on the water. Finally, remember that watching these legendary athletes compete in such a high-stakes environment can be equally exciting. So wrap up those arm warmers, buckle up your life jackets, and get ready and excited – it’s time to enjoy some Olympic rowing!


Q: What is rowing at the Olympic Games?

A: Rowing is a sport that involves racing boats on water using oars. At the Olympic Games, rowing is among the many sports athletes compete for medals.

Q: How many rowing events are there at the Olympic Games?

A: There are several rowing events at the Olympic Games, including men’s and women’s single sculls, double sculls, quadruple sculls, and pairs.

Q: How long are the races in rowing at the Olympics?

A: The races in rowing at the Olympics are typically 2000 meters long. However, depending on their specific rules, some events may have different distances or formats.

Q: Who can compete in rowing at the Olympics?

A: Athletes worldwide can qualify to compete in rowing at the Olympics. Each country can send a certain number of athletes to represent them in each event based on their performance and ranking.

Q: What are some critical skills needed to excel in rowing at the Olympics?

A: Rowers must have muscular endurance, good technique, and excellent teamwork skills to succeed in this sport. They also need to handle pressure and stay focused during races.

Q: Where can I watch rowing at the Olympic Games?

A: You can watch rowing at the Olympic Games on various TV networks or online streaming platforms that have broadcasting rights for the event. Check your local listings for more information on where you can tune in.