Competition at the Highest Levels



Rowing had its Paralympic debut at Beijing in 2008, making it the youngest sport in the Games. The 2012 rowing will take place on a 1,000-meter long course at Eton Dorney, about 25 miles west of London, near Windsor Castle.

Paralympic rowing – sometimes called “adaptive rowing” – is the same racing sport as able-bodied rowing. Only the boats are modified to accommodate the athletes’ disabilities, not the sport, which consists of four events: Men’s Single Sculls, Women’s Single Sculls, Mixed Double Sculls, and Mixed Coxed Four.

The singles events are for athletes who have limited or no trunk and leg control. The two- and four-person events are for athletes with increased trunk and leg function, and four-person events are also open to visually impaired and intellectually impaired rowers.

The mixed events must have an even number of male and female athletes in the boat, making them one of the few Paralympic events where men and women compete against and with one another. Coxswains in the Mixed Coxed events may be either male or female and also may be able-bodied.

Top Contenders
• Great Britain took home two of the four gold medals awarded in 2008 and is looking to score big in home waters.
• Team USA’s Mixed Coxed Four team took silver in Beijing, and American Laura Schwanger won bronze in the Women’s Single Sculls.

Paralympics 2012 Competition: Aug. 31 – Sept. 2

Athlete Classifications

Rowing is an “adaptive” sport, meaning the tools – the boats – are modified for the athletes. There are three categories of rowers, with different rules for their boats and events:

Class Disability

LTA (Legs, Trunk, Arms)

Athletes with use of at least one leg, trunk, and arms; also open to athletes with visual or intellectual impairments. Rowed in standard boats with sliding seats.

TA (Trunk and Arms)

Athletes with use of trunk and arm muscles only.
Rowed in boats with fixed seats.

AS (Arms and Shoulders)

Sometimes called “arms only” rowing, for athletes without use of legs and with limited trunk control.
Rowed in boats with fixed seats. The rower is strapped in at the upper chest level to allow only shoulder and arm movements.

Back To Sports

More From PBS