Canada is endowed with many natural sites suitable for rowing and the country boasts 124 clubs registered with their national association
– Rowing Canada Aviron. Cold winters, however, mean that cross-training becomes the norm when the waters freeze. Although winter
sports feature prominently in popularity on a national level, rowing is one of the most successful sports at Olympic level.
At the last Olympic Games in Beijing, Canada secured
a four-medal haul in rowing and finished third equal
on the overall medals table. The number of medals
showed a turnaround from just one medal four years
earlier at the Olympic Games in Athens and included
gold in the prestigious men’s eight.
The national team has two official training centres,
in Victoria, British Columbia, and London, Ontario.
Heading the men’s team is indomitable coach
Mike Spracklen who has held the position since
2001. Al Morrow, a regular coaching figure at
national level since the late 1970s, heads the
The early days of rowing in Canada can be pinned
to the arrival of people from Great Britain with the
first recorded rowing race between a British garrison
and a visiting Royal Navy warship. This dates back
to the early 1800s. Professional single
sculler Ned Hanlan became Canada’s
first national sports hero in the late 1800s. The mark
of rowing had begun.
United States universities have a strong influence
in elite Canadian rowing. Many top rowers study
and row at some of the best rowing universities
in the US, then return to Canada to integrate back
into the national team. This has not hindered the
development of elite rowing in Canada, especially
in the big boats.
Canada’s 2008 Olympic
Champion Men’s Eight.