With just one year remaining until the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the world is brimming with excitement as athletes, organizers, and sports enthusiasts gear up for an extraordinary celebration of athletic excellence. Set to take place in the captivating French capital from Friday, July 26, 2024, through Sunday, August 11, 2024, the Games mark the third time the country has had the honour of hosting the Summer Olympics. As the anticipation reaches its peak, our national team rowers are among those eagerly awaiting the momentous event.
For the Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) stars, the countdown to the Paris Olympics brings an exciting sense of anticipation. Rowing events have been staged at every Games since the first modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896 (men’s events). However, because the competition was scheduled to take place at sea, it had to be cancelled that year due to bad weather. Women’s events were only officially included in the Olympic program much later, at the Games of Montréal, in 1976, where current National Women’s Sweep program coach Carol Love represented Canada at the Games.
For Tokyo gold medallist Sydney Payne, the one-year milestone is a significant moment in the crew’s preparations as the Women’s Eight looks to qualify for the Olympics at the September 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
“The final year of the quad is starting and driving the energy shift for the biggest challenge ahead of us,” Payne said. “The women’s sweep squad is looking forward to the journey of qualifying boats for the Olympics this coming September at the World Championships. The pressure that comes with qualifying for the Olympics allows us to hone in on our performance, and get the most out of each other.”
The Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium, completed in 2019, will be the host venue for rowing events at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Additionally, it will serve as the hub for canoe/kayak Olympic and Paralympic sprint competitions. With 14 rowing events taking place between July 27 and August 3, 2024, a total of 502 rowers will compete across fourteen gender-based categories, ensuring equal representation between men and women. While the number of rowers has been slightly reduced from the previous Games, the rowing program for Paris 2024 remains consistent, featuring seven categories for men and seven for women.
Among the events included in the rowing program are the Single Sculls, Coxless Pair, Double Sculls, Coxless Four, Quadruple Sculls, Eight, and Lightweight Double Sculls, both for women and men. The adjustments in athlete figures led to the removal of the men’s lightweight four class and the addition of the women’s coxless four class. This change holds special significance for Canadian rowing, as the women’s coxless four class was last contested at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where the Canadian crew secured a thrilling one-second victory against the United States, winning the gold medal.
The qualification process will kick off at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, where nations will be awarded quotas across fourteen categories. The remaining quota spots will be determined through the continental qualification regattas in Asia and Oceania, the Americas, Africa, and Europe, as well as the final Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.
As the countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympics continues, excitement mounts and anticipation grows among athletes and fans alike. The stage is set for an unforgettable celebration of sport, unity, and human achievement in the heart of France’s iconic capital. As the world prepares to witness history in the making, the Paris Olympics promises to be a grand spectacle of sporting excellence and international camaraderie.
To support the national team, RCA has recently launched an initiative entitled Patrons for Paris to power the teams on their journey to the Paris 2024 Games.
We invite you to join the movement and become a valuable member of a supportive community that will embrace the team and help them achieve success on the international stage.