BY ED MORAN
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
While most people in the rowing community expected that the International Olympic Committee would approve the addition of coastal rowing to the schedule of the 2024 Summer Games, those hopes were dashed Monday for at least another Olympic cycle.
In announcing the decisions of the IOC Executive Committee on athlete quotas, gender equality, and the addition of any new sports for the Paris Games, the IOC said that World Rowing’s proposal to add coastal rowing to replace lightweight rowing could not happen for the 2024 Games.
In making the decision, which was announced Monday, the IOC stated that there would no change to the 14-event 2024 rowing program, which means that lightweight rowing will not be eliminated and would continue to be an Olympic event throughout the next cycle.
The reality is that the change will most likely happen for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, California.
In a Monday press release following receipt of the decision, World Rowing said that the IOC praised the strength of the proposal to add coastal rowing and eliminate the men’s and women’s lightweight doubles from the program, but that “the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the need to reduce costs and complexity for Paris 2024 specifically highlighted by the IOC Executive Board, the Commission concluded that no new disciplines could be added across any sport.”
In addition to ruling out coastal rowing, the IOC Executive Committee also voted on athlete quotas and gender equality issues, bringing the number of athletes down from 526 to 502 athletes by 2024. In addition, the Executive Committee voted to add skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and breaking to the 2024 program.
In making the decision to put coastal on hold the IOC noted the “beach nature,” of coastal rowing and conveyed that it “could represent a very strong fit with the vision and venue landscape of Los Angeles and, following the definition of the LA2028 Sport Programme due in 2021, look forward to positively considering the inclusion of Coastal Rowing in the event programme for Los Angeles 2028.”
The decision was a disappointment for World Rowing’s long-term plans to add coastal rowing into the Olympic schedule, keeping lightweight rowing and not losing events outright was a positive outcome for the next cycle.
“The good news here is that the lightweights get one more Olympic Games, and that there was no reduction in the number of events. Lightweight rowing is a massively popular category of our sport and hopefully this comes as great news to lightweight rowing community all around the world. “
Read the full World Rowing Statement here.
Read the full IOC release here.