Rowing special: more than a century of Olympic tradition

Find out about the history of the sport, the current international scene, the rivalry between Rio’s clubs and Paralympic rowing

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Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas will stage the rowing competitions at the Rio 2016 Games  (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas will stage the rowing competitions at the Rio 2016 Games (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)

A sport with an age-old tradition in the Olympic Games and an exciting recent history in the Paralympic world, rowing is the subject of December's special series on

At the Rio 2016 Games, the sport will be hosted on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a lagoon in the heart of the city and one of Rio de Janeiro’s most beautiful picture-postcard locations.

Used as a means of transport since ancient times in Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire, rowing only emerged as a sport in the late 17th century and early 18th century in England.

The first official contest was between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge along the River Thames. First staged in 1829, this world-famous race continues to be held to this day and is one of the major sporting events in British life.

Its debut at the Olympic Games happened in Paris in 1900, with only men’s events. Women began competing at the Montreal 1976 Games. Now Rio de Janeiro is preparing to stage the next chapter of this story.

In this special series, you can find out more about the history of rowing in Rio and how 19th century regattas gave rise to the rivalry between the big Rio sports clubs, which are now more famous for their football teams. We'll also give an overview of the sport’s current international scene, with an emphasis on the latest major competitions, and there will be a profile of the Brazilian national team as it prepares for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Check out the schedule:

Tuesday 17 December - How rowing sparked the rivalry between Rio's major sports clubs

Wednesday 18 December - The current international scene

Thursday 19 December - Brazil's Paralympic rowers

Want to find out more about other sports? See the topics already covered in previous editions of our special features: athleticsbadmintonbasketballwheelchair basketballboxingboccia, goalballjudowrestlingswimmingparacanoemodern pentathlonrugbytaekwondoshootingtriathlonsailingvolleyballbeach volleyballhandballgolf, football, tenniscyclingarchery and fencing.

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