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Propulsion of a boat by means of oars. As a sport, it involves one of two kinds of boat: (1) the shell, a narrow, light racing boat propelled by eight rowers pulling single oars under the direction of a coxswain; and (2) the scull, a racing shell propelled by one or two rowers using sculls (pairs of oars). Organized racing began at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the 1820s, culminating in 1839 in the Henley Regatta (from 1851 the Henley Royal Regatta). In the U.S., Harvard and Yale universities first raced in 1851. Rowing events in the Olympic Games have been held for men since 1900 and for women since 1976.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on rowing, visit Britannica.com.