Summer Olympics Rowing Rules to Know Before London

Yahoo Contributor Network

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games get under way with the first day of competition on July 27.

The rowing events have long been part of the Olympic Games since making their first appearance at the Games in Paris in 1900. The events are head-to-head competitions and include lightweight events -- where the athletes have a weight limit.

Here is a brief look at the some of the rowing rules to help enjoy the competition at the Olympic Games:

Weights and Measures

Rule: The minimum weight for a coxswain wearing the racing uniform is 55 kilograms (121 pounds) for the men and 50 kilograms (110 pounds) for the women.

Rule: A lightweight men's crew (excluding coxswain) must have an average weight not exceeding 70 kilograms (154 pounds), and no rower can weigh more than 72.5 kilograms (159.5 pounds)

Rule: Weigh-ins are done with uniform, on tested scales, and between one and two hours before the race.


Rule: Members of the same crew must wear identical clothing. If one member wears headwear, then the headwear worn by the other members needs to be identical.

Rule: In adverse weather conditions or for health reasons, a coxswain may race with additional clothing in the colors of the federation.


Rule: The oar blades may not be less than 5 millimeters (.19 inches) thick for sweep oars and three millimeters (.11 inches) thick for sculls.

Rule: The colors and design of the oars and sculls must be identical on both sides.


Rule: It is prohibited to give instructions, advice or directions to rowers or crews that are racing with any technical device.


Rule: A crew has finished the race when the bow of the boat has crossed the finish line. A race shall be valid even if the crew is incomplete. However, a crew of a coxed boat crossing without its coxswain will be disqualified.


Rule: There are two scenarios for breaking a dead heat -- if it matters for advancement or not. If it matters for advancing to the next round, all competitors in the dead heat must race the entire length of the course again. If both teams would advance either way, then a re-race is not needed and seeding in the next round will be done via a draw.

In addition, if there is a dead heat during a medal round, both teams finish in the same place, and both earn the same medal, if applicable.


World Rowing Magazine

Jeff DeLuca has been a sports writer since 1997. His favorite Olympic memories include the 1980 US Hockey Team and the Dream Team in 1992.

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