World Rowing and IOC reach agreement to move LA 2028 rowing events to Long Beach Marine Stadium

Moving the rowing events to Long Beach Marine Stadium will shorten the course by 500m due to a bridge on the course not allowing for the standard 2000m course

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2022 European Championships - Rowing - Olympic Regatta Centre, Munich, Germany - August 14, 2022 General view during the Women's Eight Final A REUTERS/Lukas Barth
2022 European Championships - Rowing - Olympic Regatta Centre, Munich, Germany - August 14, 2022 General view during the Women's Eight Final A REUTERS/Lukas Barth

The IOC and World Rowing have come upon an unprecedented decision regarding the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. Rather than having a 2000 meters course for all rowing events, the course will be 1500 meters and return to Long Beach Marine Stadium for competition.

At the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, the rowing events were held in Long Beach, but were relocated to the Lake Perris State Recreation Area in Riverside County which is what was originally on the bid for the 2028 Games. Both organizations have made it abundantly clear that the change from a 2000 meter course to a 1500 meter course is a unique experience that will only affect the 2028 Games.

Jean-Christophe Rolland, the World Rowing President, shared, “For some time now I have widely shared our analysis on the opportunity to organize the Olympic and Paralympic regattas in Long Beach, rather than on Lake Perris as initially proposed in the bid file, in order to adapt to the context and to be in perfect harmony with the 2020 Olympic Agenda. Following our investigations, measurements and technical analyses, the Board has decided to formally accept this option proposed by the LA28 Olympic Games Organizing Committee. "

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Part of the decision to move the events to Long Beach was due to the economic impact regarding the distance from the Olympic Village. If rowing events were to continue to be held in Riverside County, separate housing would have to be arranged for the athletes competing outside of Los Angeles County.

In regards to the course length, it had varied from 1900 to 1912 when the 2000 meter length was decided on in Stockholm for the 1912 Games. While the 1932 Los Angeles Games held rowing at the Long Beach Marine Stadium, the building of the J.H. Davies Bridge in 1955 restricted the length of the course to 1500 meters.

Rolland went on to say, “We consider that reducing to 1500m, adapting to the technical and environmental constraints was a significant and justified effort, but one that will of course remain exceptional and unique. I would like to remind you that only the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic regattas are affected by this exceptional decision.”

In addition to the change of venue, World Rowing is also petitioning for coastal rowing to be added to the program since Long Beach Marine Stadium is adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. The implementation of ocean events would replace two lightweight rowing events, but the proposal has not been accepted yet.

Despite the IOC turning down the coastal rowing proposition in December of 2020, IOC sport director Kit McConnell has offered encouragement over coastal rowing, saying there was “support for looking at the proposal to swap the lightweights for coastal rowing moving forward.”

With six years between now and LA 2028, the potential for these changes to take place sits in the organizing committee’s hands and time will tell what rowing events will look like in the year 2028.

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