TOKYO (Reuters) – Focus on rowing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
THE ABSOLUTE BASICS
* There are two distinct categories of events, contested on a 2,000m course: sculling and sweep.
* Sculling involves the use of two oars per person, with competitors rowing solo or in teams of two or four.
* Sweep teams of two, four and eight race with competitors using one oar each.
HOW MANY MEDALS?
There are 14 gold medals up for grabs, with eight sculling events and six sweep.
WHAT HAPPENED IN RIO?
Britain topped the medal table for the third Olympics in a row, while New Zealand’s veterans also shone, with Mahé Drysdale claiming his second gold medal in the men’s single sculls and Eric Murray and Hamish Bond retaining their 2012 title in the coxless pair.
The United States picked up a third straight gold in the women’s eight.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?
With Drysdale having retired, there is a battle brewing for the top of the podium in the men’s single sculls, as concerns over water quality and conditions loom over the Olympic venue.
This year’s rowing programme will feature an equal number of events for men and women for the first time. The women’s coxless four has been added to the programme, while the men’s lightweight coxless four was removed to accommodate it.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
The events kick off on Friday and run through July 30.
WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?
Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
The sport is woven into the very fabric of the Olympics with Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Games, having been an avid rower himself. Rowing made its debut at the 1900 Games, though it had been on the programme four years earlier only to be cancelled due to bad weather.
WELL FANCY THAT
Rowers are widely considered among the greatest athletes pound-for-pound in the Olympics, with the sport demanding lean frames able to produce an enormous amount of power over a short competition. “The toll it takes on the body is just super significant,” British Rowing Performance Director Brendan Purcell told Reuters.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Tokyo; Editing by Ken Ferris)