1950 · 40,000
people watched Mervyn Wood of Australia defend the Philadelphia [Gold]
Challenge Cup against John B. Kelly, Jr. and England’s
Anthony Rowe for the world amateur sculling championship over 2,000 meters
on the Schuylkill.
1950's · Two major
developments in Europe revolutionized rowing. While German Karl Adams and
his Ratzeburg crews produced victories with harder training and higher
ratings, the East European rowing countries, particularly East Germany and
the U.S.S.R. developed national sport policies and national teams with
1951 · The first
FISA sponsored regatta for women was held in conjunction with the men’s
European Championships in Macon, France.
1952 · Thomas
Price, age 19, from Rutgers, began rowing in January, sat in a pair for the
first time in May, and won gold in the U.S. Olympic coxless-pair in
Helsinki in July; Navy won the eights for the second time.
1952 U.S. Gold Medal Pair - C. Logg &
1954 · The first
European rowing championships for women were held, in Amsterdam, and were
swept by the Russians. The Russian squad, together with two Swiss rowers and
a Yugoslav, also dominated the medals awards at Henley.
· Magdalen College, Oxford
experimented with one of the first fiberglass hulls, and the Bedford sliding
rigger was championed by British Olympian, author and BRA editor Richard
1956 · Yale rowed
itself out winning the eights at Lake Wendouree at Ballarat during the
Melbourne Olympics, which was boycotted by the Swiss, Dutch and Spanish
teams because of the Soviets' actions in Hungary. The U.S. was also
victorious in the coxless and coxed-pairs. The Soviets won the single and
1956 USA Olympic Gold Medal Eight - Yale
Varsity, (photo - Sports Illustrated)
1959 · The tulip
blade was popularized at the European Championships in Macon.
won despite its first "mutiny"
led by Yale’s Reed Rubin.
1960 · Oxford
introduced spoon oars to the Boat Race.
Rome Games witnessed the first defeat of a U.S. eight in Olympic history, as
Navy lost to the Germans, who also won the coxed-fours and pairs. The
Soviets won the coxless-pair and single, while the U.S. won the coxless-four.
1960 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Four - Lake
(J. Sayre/R. Wailes/T. Nash/A. Ayrault)
1961 · Cambridge
trained for the Boat Race utilizing an unwieldy and primitive device
developed in Australia and called an "ergometer."
· The Western Sprints were
1962 · One of the
oldest records in sport fell when Yale’s
Boyce Budd weighed in at 15 stone 1 pound for a victorious Cambridge crew,
breaking the mark for the heaviest Boat Race oarsman, held since 1829 by
Oxford’s Rev. Toogood at 14 st.
Mackenzie, Australia, won his sixth straight Diamonds, a record not since matched.
Stuart MacKenzie, Australia congratulated
by Ivanov, USSR
first FISA world rowing championships were held, in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The National Women's Rowing Association (NWRA) was formed by Joanne Wright
Iverson (Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club), Ted Nash (Lake Washington Rowing
Club) and Ed Lickiss (Lake Merritt Rowing Club).
1963 · British
rowing took several important steps forward with the appointment of its
first director of training and of its first national coach, and with the
integration of the Women’s
Amateur Rowing Association into the ARA.
· Harry Parker began
his career as the head coach at Harvard with an upset victory over Yale, the
first of a string of 18 H-Y wins, and the beginning of a career as the most
important U.S. college coach of the second half of the century.
Harvard & Coach Parker, Sports
Illustrated - June, 1965
1964 · The spare
from the 1914 Harvard crew that won the Grand set a record for frustrated
patience as the entire crew returned to row the Henley course after 50
years; there was still no place for the spare in the boat.
the Toda course in Tokyo, Russian sculler Viacheslav Ivanov won his third
consecutive single sculls Olympic gold medal; the Soviets also took gold in
the double. The U.S. (Vesper) recaptured the eights title, and (Stanford
Crew Assn.) won the coxed-pair.
Olympic Gold Medal Eight - Vesper B.C. © Archives IOC
1965 · The first
Head of the Charles was held in Cambridge/Boston, Massachusetts, and has
since grown to be the biggest regatta in the U.S.
1966 · The East
German men took five Henley titles, followed by a chaser of three golds at
the World Championships at Bled, ending a decade of dominance of the
international rowing scene by the Russians.
British Marines, Ridgway and Blyth, rekindled interest in trans-oceanic
crossings by rowing from Cape Cod to Ireland in three months; another crew
attempting the same feat, Johnstone and Hoare, were lost at sea.
National Rowing Foundation was established to support U.S. rowing.
1967 · The first
FISA Junior Regatta was held, in Ratzeburg, Germany.
James W. Dietz, NYAC - 1967 FISA Junior
Singles Gold Medal
Girls Rowing Club sent the first U.S. representative women’s
eight (as well as a quad) to a FISA championship.
1968 · The West
German eight was victorious at Xochimilco at the Mexico City Olympics;
Harvard was the last non-national team eight to represent the U.S. at the
Games, the first in which a competing U.S. team did not win a single event.
The East Germans won the coxless-pair and four.
1969 · Tom McClean
completed the first solo trans-Atlantic rowing eastward crossing from
Newfoundland to Ireland, and John Fairfax completed the first solo
trans-Atlantic rowing westward crossing from the Canary Islands to Miami.
· Arthur Martin launched the
Alden Ocean Shell and started a movement toward recreational sculling.
Arthur Martin - designer/manufacturer of the Alden Ocean
1970 · The
introduction of the Gamut ergometer to U.S. circles initiated changes in
training and selection processes in most rowing programs.
East Germans took gold or silver at every event at the World Championships.
1972 · Harry Parker conducted the first selection of
a U.S. national camp eight and coxed-four. A New
Zealand eight beat the U.S. to the finish in the Munich Olympics. The East
Germans won the coxed and coxless-pair and four, while the Soviets
won the single and the double.
passage by the Congress of Title IX of the Omnibus Education Act of 1972
changed the face of women’s
rowing in the United States.
Fairfax and Sylvia Cook completed a year’s
rowing odyssey from San Francisco to Australia.
manufacturer Empacher Bootswerft pushed the frontiers of shell construction
with the successful utilization of composite materials [Miller].
1973 · The U.S.
entered its first national women’s
squad in the European rowing championships.
1974 · The initial
San Diego Crew Classic was held, establishing an event which provides the
first major competition of the spring season for collegiate crews.
first FISA world championships for women and for lightweight men were held,
in Lucerne. The women’s distance
was set at 1,000 meters. The U.S. men won the eight and the single (Bill
School coach Hart Perry was the first foreigner elected a Henley Steward.
Coach Hart Perry, HRR Steward
1975 · The U.S.
women’s eight, coached by Harry
Parker, was first selected
based on a national camp system.
1976 · The
Montreal Olympics, held on the Notre Dame course, had the first women’s
Olympic rowing, at a 1,000 meter distance, and U.S. women won silver in the
single (Joan Lind) and bronze in the eight; the East Germans won both the
men’s and women’s
eights, as well as the men’s
coxless and coxed-pairs, the coxless-four, and the quad, and the women’s
single, coxed-four and quad. Bulgaria won the women’s
double and coxless-pair, and the U.S. men avoided their first Olympic
rowing medal shutout ever with a silver in the coxless-pair.
Joan Lind, photo - S Jonik
Yale women’s crew made national
headlines with their Title IX protest strip.
1977 · The
Dreissigackers began production of light, durable composite material oars [Miller].
1980 · The U.S.
boycotted the Moscow Olympics over the invasion of Afghanistan, while the
East German men and women again took both eights titles, as well as the men’s
coxless and coxed-pairs and fours, and the double and the quad, and the
women’s coxless-pair, coxed-four and quad.
1980 U.S. Olympic Eight at Henley
1980's · Vespoli
boats became the standard of choice for most U.S. rowing programs.
1981 · Steering
Oxford to victory, Sue Brown became the first woman to take part in the
Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race.
Royal Regatta initiated its cautious experimentation with women’s
Concept II erg was put on the market; the institution of the first CRASH-B
Sprints at Harvard’s Newell
Boathouse on January 20, 1982 gave meaning to winter training, and
additional selection criteria to coaches [Miller].
NAAO changed its name to the United States Rowing Association and major
constitutional changes were ratified.
1983 · The
appointment of Poland’s Kris
Korzeniowski by the USRA as the first National Technical Advisor and
full-time national coach introduced European techniques to U.S. rowing.
1984 · As the
Eastern bloc boycotted the Los Angeles Games, Finnish sculler Pertti
Karppinen won his third consecutive Olympic single sculls title, Canada won
the men’s eight, and the U.S.
won the women’s eight and the
men’s double at Lake Casitas.
Romania won every other women’s
gold. UCSB’s David Farmer
organized the first major U.S. exhibition of rowing art and memorabilia.
1985 · The first
FISA women's lightweight world
championships were held (in conjunction with the men’s
championships at Hazewinkel), and the FISA and Olympic course distance for
women was increased to 2,000 meters.
USRA moved from Philadelphia’s
Boathouse Row to Indianapolis.
1986 · The NWRA
dissolved in recognition of the assumption by the USRA of responsibility as
the national governing body for women’s
1987 · Oxford’s
second "mutiny" led to
books, a movie and a victory without U.S. oars.
1988 · The West
German men and East
German women were the victorious eights on the Han River at the
Seoul Olympics, and the DDR men also won the single and the coxed and coxless-fours, and the women also won the single, the double, the coxed-four and the
quad. The Italian men won the coxless-four and the quad.
first Women’s Henley Regatta was
1990 · The World
Cup was established by FISA for men’s
and women’s singles.
1991 · "hatchet"
oar blades were first introduced by the Dreissigackers [Miller].
1992 · The
Canadian men’s eight and the
women’s coxless-pair, four and
eight were triumphant and an amazing comeback by severely injured Silken
Laumann, Canada, for the Bronze Medal on Lake Banyoles at the Barcelona Olympics, while the
Germans took the men’s single
and quad and women’s double and
quad, and the Australians won the men’s
double and coxless-four.
Silken Laumann, Canada - Olympic Bronze
Medal and one of the great stories at Banyoles, photo - Dominik
1993 · Thomas
Mendenhall’s history of the
Harvard-Yale boat race represented the first major scholarly work published
on U.S. rowing.
1996 · The Atlanta
Olympics had the first men’s and
women’s Olympic lightweight
rowing; Steve Redgrave won gold in his fourth consecutive Olympics with a
victory in the coxless-pair, the only gold won by Britain in the entire
Games. The Netherlands men’s
eight and the Romanian women’s
eight, as well as their lightweight double, brought home golden memories of
Lake Lanier. The Swiss men were victorious in the single and the lightweight
Helen Cooper organized the first exhibition devoted to Thomas Eakins’
rowing images, at the National Gallery, Yale and the Cleveland Art Museum.
1997 · The first
woman was elected a Henley Steward, and women were admitted as members at
rowing became a National Collegiate Athletic Association sport.
1998 · The quest
for a rowing museum was realized when the River and Rowing Museum at Henley
was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth (November 6).
River & Rowing Museum,
Henley-On-Thames, photo © 1998 Jaap Oepkes
1999 · The U.S.
men's eight, stroked by Chris Ahrens and coached Mike Teti, won their third consecutive
World Championship Gold Medal.
2000 · The
amazing Steve Redgrave commanded huge media coverage rowing in the British
coxless-four and winning his fifth Olympic Gold Medal in five consecutive
accomplishment never before achieved in any endurance sport.
Redgrave - GB