Kind of sport
In rowing, very narrow light boats are propelled by muscle power. There are two ways in which the oars can be used. The outrigger is aboat in which every rower handles one oar with two hands on one side of the boat. The sculler is a boat in which every rower uses two oars simultaneously, one on either side of the boat.
At the Olympic Games in 1996 the men row in the following categories:
1. Skiff: one-person sculler (since 1900)
2. Double sculler: two-person sculler (since 1904)
3. Lightweight double sculler: two-person sculler (since 1996)
4. Quadruple sculler: four-person sculler (since 1976)
5. Coxless pair: two-person outrigger (since 1904)
6. Coxless quadruple: four-person outrigger (since 1904)
7. Lightweight coxless quadruple: four-person outrigger (since 1996)
8. Eight: eight-person outrigger (since 1900)
In 1996 the women row in six categories:
1. Skiff 2. Double sculler 3. Lightweight double sculler 4. Quadruple sculler 5. Coxless pair 6. Eight.
The men have always competed on a regatta course of 2000 metres and the women, until 1988, covered a distance of 1000 metres. Since Seoul 1988, the women have also competed on the 2000 metres course. In order to be able to execute the technique flawlessly, the rowers have to practice for years. The rowing stroke is a motion in which tension and relaxation are alternated. With the scull and the outrigger, the rowing motion consists of two phases: the movement through the water and the free pull through the air. The rowing motion is preceded by the 'entry'. Simultaneously with the backwards movement of the oars, the rower pushes himself/herself backwards on the sliding seat by straightening the legs, while bending the arms and straightening the back. During the pull, the blades are turned at 90 degrees to minimize the air resistance as much as possible. The rower bends the legs, causing the sliding seat to move forwards, and straightens the arms. Now he/she is again ready for the entry and a cycle has been completed. Boats with a steersman have someone who is responsible for keeping the boat on a straight course and for the rowing commands. Rowing requires an effective rowing stroke and a harmonious movement of the body. Besides strength and a skillful stroke, an excellent sense of balance is also needed.