Rowing course for 2028 Los Angeles Olympics could be 500m short
Feb. 12, 2020
It sounds like the perfect medal combination for New Zealanders at the Olympics - rowing and 1500 metres.
There is a possibility that the rowing course for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles would be 500 metres shorter than the traditional course, and on a tidal venue with only seven lanes instead of eight.
New Zealand rowers have won 24 Olympic medals while our runners have collected seven medals on the track over the classic middle-distance event of the 1500m - three gold (courtesy of Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell and John Walker), a silver and three bronze.
At a World Rowing Federation (Fisa) council annual meeting in Budapest recently, the council was updated on the possibility of the rowing venue for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles to be situated at Long Beach.
"After a recent site visit, it was determined that the only possibility at Long Beach would be a 1500 metre, seven-lane regatta course. Due to the bridge and other significant issues, it is not possible for a longer course. Fisa is still studying a few more issues before a final decision will be taken," World Rowing said on its website.
Long Beach was the rowing venue for the 1932 Olympics - the NZ men's coxless pair crew of Bob Stiles and Rangi Thompson won a silver medal - while Lake Casitas held the rowing competition when the Olympics were last hosted by LA in 1984, with NZ winning gold in the coxless four through Les O'Connell, Shane O'Brien, Conrad Robertson and Keith Trask and bronze in the coxed four.
It's understood the original Los Angeles 2028 Olympic bid proposal was to host rowing at Lake Perris in eastern Los Angeles, but the cost of establishing a satellite village and basing rowers away from the Games means other options are being explored.
While it seems like too big a change from tradition to be accepted, the idea of a shorter course was greeted excitedly by Great Britain rowing legend Matthew Pinsent.
"Great - time to innovate. Sprints, relays, knockout, mixed, one day/multi round events - look, learn, challenge and try stuff," wrote Pinsent - who won gold at four consecutive Olympic Games - wrote on Twitter.
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