Summer Olympics Rowing: 10 Rules Every Fan Should Know

Yahoo Contributor Network

Per its official website, the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games will feature 14 rowing events, which will take place between July 28 and Aug. 4. A total of 550 competitors, 353 men and 197 women, will take part in the rowing competitions. In each contest, individuals or teams will use oars to try to power their sleek, canoe-like boats 2,000 meters (approximately 2,187.2 yards) to the finish line ahead of any competitors.

All of the rowing contests will take place at Eton College Rowing Center (Dorney Lake), located about "25 miles west of London."

At the 2012 London Olympics, the rowing competitions will rely on the rules and regulations promulgated by the International Federation of Rowing Associations (FISA), which is the sport's governing body.

Here are 10 FISA rules that fans need to know:

Boats Specifications: Racing boats have to contain at least two sections, "with no section longer than 11.9" meters (approximately 39 feet). The vessels must also meet certain weight requirements, which differ based on the specific rowing event.

Course Requirements: The length of the course is 2,000 meters (approximately 2187.2 yards). Per the London Olympics' official site, the course will contain six racing lanes. Each lane will be 13.5 meters (about 44.3 feet) wide.

Substitutions: A nation can make limited substitutions to a rowing team's roster up until an hour before the race begins. If a rower gets sick or injured during the race, he or she can sometimes be replaced.

Coaching During the Race: While in the act of racing, teams (or individuals) cannot receive any instructions from their coaches or managers.

False Start: During a race, a competitor is allowed one false start. The team (or individual) will be disqualified if it commits a second false start.

Restarting the Race: Per USRowing, "If within the first 100 meters there is legitimate equipment breakage (e.g., an oar snaps in two), the race will be stopped and restarted with repaired equipment."

Crossing Lanes: As USRowing notes, "rowers are allowed to leave their lanes without penalty, so long as they do not interfere with anyone else's opportunity to win."

Obstruction: Rowers are not allowed to do anything which interferes with another crew's ability to propel itself through the water. Except in a few situations (eg. when two boats collide), a team (or individual) cannot be penalized for obstruction without first receiving a warning from an official.

Finishing the Race: A crew completes the race when the "bow of its boat has crossed the finish line."

In Case of a Tie: If two or more boats cross the finish line at the same time in a qualifying heat, and only one of the boats can advance to the next round, "then there must be a re-row over the full course between the crews involved." If the tie occurs in the final round, both crews "shall be given equal placing in the final order and the next placing(s) shall be left vacant." For example, if two squads tie for first place, they both receive gold medals and no silver medals are awarded for that event.

More from this contributor

Summer Olympics Synchronized Swimming: A History

Summer Olympics Synchronized Swimming: 10 Terms Every Fan Should Know

Summer Olympics Synchronized Swimming: 10 Rules Every Fan Should Know

The author is a freelance writer who happens to be an avid sports fan. He is not affiliated with any Olympic organizations or rowing teams.

View Comments