Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Date Started: July 30, 1984
Date Finished: August 5, 1984
Participants: 447 (286 men and 161 women) from 30 countries
Youngest Participant: Philippe Cuelenaere (12 years, 334 days)
Oldest Participant: Manuel Mandel (47 years, 304 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 2 medals
Most Medals (Country): Romania and United States (8 medals)
Rowing at the 1984 Summer Olympics was held at man-made Lake Casitas in Los Padres National Forest, north of Los Angeles. Many of the events were heavily impacted by the Soviet-led boycott, as Bulgaria, the Soviet Union, and especially East Germany were the dominant powers in many of the rowing disciplines. Especially affected were the women’s events, many of which had rarely, if ever, seen winners at the Olympics or the World Championships from outside of the Eastern Bloc. Nonetheless, 30 nations still took part, up five from the 1980 Games and down only one from 1976, the last time the Olympics were not the subject of a major boycott. Romania benefitted the most from the boycott, winning five of the six women’s events in the Eastern Bloc’s absence and topping the medal table with eight medals overall, six of which were gold. The United States also took eight medals, only two of which, however, were gold, making it the only other nation to win more than one rowing title at the Games.
The 1984 program remained the same as it had been in 1976 and 1980 and held women’s event for the third time. This was the last time that they would compete over 1000 metres as, beginning in 1988, they would join the men in competing over 2000 metres. Puerto Rico made its Olympic debut by sending Juan Félix to the men’s single sculls; although he would compete again in 1988 he remains, as of 2012, the only individual to have represented this nation in Olympic rowing. China, meanwhile, also appeared in rowing for the first time by sending crews to the men’s and women’s coxed fours events, while Korea, by sending a crew to the latter event, took part in rowing for the first time in two decades and only the second time ever. In the coxless pairs, Spain’s Fernando Climent and Luis Lasúrtegui won silver, which was their country’s first, and of 2012 only, medal in Olympic rowing, despite the nation having made its first appearance in rowing in the inaugural 1900 tournament. Sisters Greet and Nicolette Hellemans of the Netherlands, meanwhile, highlighted the impact of the Soviet boycott on rowing\: they both won silver and bronze in the double sculls and coxed eights respectively and became the tournament’s only multiple medalists for a nation that had never previously won an Olympic or World Championship medal in either discipline.