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Rowing 101: Basics

Andrew Weber; USA TODAY

Rowing 101: Basics

Learn more on the basics of Olympic rowing.

One of the most physically demanding Olympic sports, rowing is all about endurance. With each race 2000 meters long, rowers reach anywhere between 40 and 47 strokes per minute. With many different events, the number of competitors per boat, as well as the type of rowing varies.

There are two different types of rowing: sweeping and sculling. Sweeping, much like the name suggests, requires the use of one oar, with the athlete only rowing on one side of the boat. This is the type of rowing used in the esteemed men's and women's eight. Sculling, in turn, requires the use of two oars, one in each hand. Among the 14 different Olympic events eight are sculls and six are sweeps.

Abbreviation key: + (with coxswain), - (without coxswain), x (sculls), M (men's), W (women's), L (lightweight)

Here is a list of the 2016 Rio Olympic rowing events:   

Men's Sweep
Pair (2- or M2-)
Lightweight four (L4- or LM4-)
Four (4- or M4-)
Eight (8+ or M8+)

Men's Sculls
Single sculls (1x or M1x)
Double sculls (2x or M2x)
Lightweight double sculls (L2x or LM2x)
Quadruple sculls (4x or M4x)

Women's Sweep
Pair (2- or W2-)
Eight (8+ or W8+)

Women's Sculls
Single sculls (1x or W1x)
Double sculls (2x or W2x)
Lightweight double sculls (L2x or LW2x)
Quadruple sculls (4x or W4x)

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