Is canning Olympic LM4- comparable to gender equity?


Following Oli Rosenbladt’s article on Row2k about the three options for FISA and the Olympics for 2020Rio Olympic logoand beyond.

The crux is this: the Olympics are moving away from a sports-based program to an events-based program, which will cap the number of events across the entire Olympics. Additionally, the IOC has adopted a gender equality mandate that all Olympic sports have exactly 50% male/50% female participation; Olympic rowing currently stands at 60% male/40% female.

To put it bluntly, there is seemingly no amount of juggling the numbers that would accomplish the IOC-mandated 50/50 balance between men and women, either in terms of events or athletes, without even iconic and cherished events like the M4- or the LM4- being considered for the axe.

Oli summarises the three options FISA has developed to equalise the number of athletes at the Olympic Games.  Overall, they have the potential to draw more countries into the Games – by using single sculls and lightweight events which traditionally favour high entry numbers from smaller rowing nations – and also increasing sculling and lightweight representation.  Both commendable aims.

FISA’s three options on the table are:

  1. Proposal 1: Add W4- (13 entries) remove LM4-, reduce LM2x to 18 entries (from 20), expand W4x to 10 entries (from 7), reduce LW2x to 18 entries (also from 20)
  2. Proposal 2: Add LM1x and LW1x (34 entries each), remove LM4- and M4-, expand W1x and M1x to 34 entries each (from 32), expand M4x and W4x to 13 entries (from 7)
  3. Proposal 3: Add W4- (7 entries), LM1x and LW1x (34 entries each), remove LM4-, M2x and W2x, expand M4x and W4x to 13 entries (from 7)

Read the full report from WorldRowing on the options and context for the decision.

Sacrifices have to be made and there will be a knock-on to the World Championships.

The Danish Survey

Separately, Rowperfect has been sent this link to a survey of views – if you feel strongly about this – please get involved, answer the survey questions and ask your club mates to do the same.

The survey asks you which events should and should not be in the Games – it also asks you to propose alternatives to the three options above.

Its Olympic2020 thats in play. Deadline for new proposals is May 6th. Then FISA board meets in Luzern (World Cup II) end of May. FISA says they will adjust proposals in accordance to hearing in national federations hearing last weekend and those send to FISA before deadline May 6th. But I have my doubts – so all must be engaged to secure LM4-.
At the FISA board meeting in May FISA finalised proposals that will be presented to congress in August. Here national federations again will be given the opportunity to protest and an email hearing is offered after the congress if FISA gets the opinion that presented proposals need minor adjustments.

Its the extraordinary congress in Tokyo February 2017 that is the endstation for debate.

But the train has started to leave now! So we must all do what we can to fight for lightweight in big boats. The LM8+ is now out of the world champ program and if rowing nations decide to exclude LM4- from Olympic games in 2020 then it’s the end of lightweight sweep rowing.

Please share! and Take the Survey.


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