Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 4, 2012
Participants: 549 (353 men and 196 women) from 58 countries
Youngest Participant: Kim Ye-Ji (17 years, 254 days)
Oldest Participant: Lesley Thompson-Willie (52 years, 314 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Kim Crow (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Great Britain (9 medals)
Rowing at the 2012 Summer Olympics took place at Dorney Lake, known as Eton Dorney during the Games, a private man-made lake owned by Eton College, where the Games' sprint canoe events were also held. The majority of the spots, awarded to the NOCs rather than individual athletes, were based off of the results of the 2011 World Championships and the event lineup, eight for men and six for women, remained the same as it had been since 1996. Great Britain improved upon their success in Beijing, where it was the most successful nation in rowing, and was far and away the dominant force at its home Olympics, winning nine medals overall, four of which were gold. Three of those went to women’s teams, making it the first time the nation’s women had won Olympic gold. British boats reached 13 of 14 finals with the sole exception being the women’s single sculls where there was no entry. New Zealand was a respectable runner up in the medal count, with five total, three of which were gold. The Kiwi successes included the coxless pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond who were amongst the most dominant victors not just in this sport, but of the whole Games. Kim Crow of Australia was a force in the women’s events as, with silver in the double scull and bronze in the single, she was the only rower at the regatta to win more than one medal. Another notable victory was that of South Africa’s Sizwe Ndlovu who, as part of his nation’s lightweight coxless four, became the first black African Olympic rowing champion.
Crowds at the rowing venue were unusually large and noisy, which created an effect known as the “Dorney roar” most noticeably when a home crew was in contention. This reached a crescendo during the final of the women’s double sculls where home favourite Katherine Grainger won her first Olympic title after three successive silver medals.