International Rowing Federation
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International Rowing Federation
World Rowing Federation
AbbreviationFISA, WR
Founded25 June 1892; 128 years ago (1892-06-25)
HeadquartersLausanne, Switzerland
PresidentJean-Christophe Rolland
Official website

The World Rowing Federation, also known as FISA (French: Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron) or World Rowing, is the international governing body for rowing.[1][2] Its current president is Jean-Christophe Rolland who succeeded Denis Oswald at a ceremony held in Lucerne in July 2014.

The World Rowing Cup, World Rowing Championships, and other such competitions are overseen by this organization.


It was founded by rowing representatives from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Adriatica, and Italy on 25 June 1892 in Turin in response to the growing popularity of the sport of rowing, and the consequent need for uniformity of regulations over such matters as race lengths, boat composition, and weight classes. Also, at the time, betting on rowing was very popular, and the rowers or coaches were themselves often taking bets. Amateur status was unknown in the sport, a state of affairs which can lead to corruption, such as thrown races.

The first regatta organised by the newly formed FISA was the European Rowing Championships and was held in 1893 in Orta, Italy. It only had 10 entries in 3 events and no professional participants. By 1925, the 27th European Championships, held in Prague, included 24 entries in 10 different events.

FISA established its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1922.[3]

FISA was the first international sports federation to join the Olympic movement. It has been on the Olympic program since the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. (The rowing events at the 1896 games were cancelled because of high winds). Each country that participates in rowing has a federation or governing body which belongs to the FISA Congress. These federations (of which there are currently 156)[1] have overall control of what FISA does.

FISA decided in 1955 that only a united German team could compete at international rowing championships; this first applied to European Championships and later, from the inaugural in 1962 onwards, to World Championships. This required that East and West Germany held selection trials, with the winning country for each boat class choosing the rowers who would compete at the championships. Over the years, the relationship between the two German countries deteriorated, and East Germany made seven application to FISA congresses to be recognised as a separate and independent country.[4] On the seventh occasion, there was insufficient time to discuss the issue at the congress held in Duisburg just prior to the men's competition of the 1965 European Rowing Championships. FISA president Thomas Keller stated that an extraordinary congress were to be held in November in Vienna that would discuss the issue, and that he personally saw no problem with solving the problems.[5] In October 1965, the International Olympic Committee decided that East Germany was to have its own team at future Olympic Games.[6] At the FISA congress in November 1965, the East German application found forty-six votes of support, four abstentions (from Germany and Austria), and no votes of disapproval.[7] At the same congress, Keller's proposal to not play national anthems or raise flags during medal ceremonies was also approved.[8] These changes first applied at the European Championships (for women) in August 1966 and then the World Championships (for men) two weeks later in September.


FISA is led by a president. The following list gives presidents since 1924:


At the 2019 Ordinary Congress FISA admitted its 156th member.[9]


FISA organises a large number of international rowing events throughout the year.


FISA has been sponsoring the program for rowing events at the Olympic games since the initial Olympic games in 1896 in Athens. It is also responsible for running the qualification program to select the participants for the games.

World Rowing Cup

Started in 1997, the World Cup comprises three regattas held in early Summer.

World Rowing Championships

A week-long regatta held every year. During Olympic years, only non-Olympic boat classes race.

World Rowing Junior Championships

Running since 1967, the Junior Championships is for those who are under 18 by the end of the current calendar year. During Olympic years it is held at the same time as the World Rowing Championships.

World Rowing Under 23 Championships

First held in 1976, this regatta is for those too old for the Junior Championships but who do not turn 23 by the end of the current calendar year (previously categorised as Senior B by FISA). The event was originally named the Nations Cup and opposed by FISA. In 2002 the name was changed to the World Rowing U23 Regatta and further changed to World Rowing U23 Championships in 2005.

World Rowing Coastal Championships

First held in 2006.[10]

World Rowing Indoor Championships

World Rowing, in partnership with Concept2, USRowing and the Erg Sprints organising committee of Alexandria, Virginia, USA, are pleased to announce the first World Rowing Indoor Championships to be staged in Alexandria from 17 to 18 February 2018.[11]

World Rowing Masters Regatta

Held since 1973, this event is for rowers 27 years of age or over. Men and women compete in age categories ranging from "A" (27 to 35) to "K" (85 and older). The largest annual international regatta, in 2013 it attracted approximately 3500 competitors who competed in 440 races over four days. There are also events for mixed crews - where half the crew is men and half women (excluding cox). The 2010 regatta took place in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, 2011 in Poznan Poland, 2012 in Duisburg Germany, 2013 in Varese Italy, 2014 in Ballarat Australia, 2015 in Hazewinkel Belgium, 2016 in Copenhagen Denmark, e 2017 in Bled Slovenia, 2018 in Sarasota USA, and 2019 in Lake Valence Hungary. The 2020 regatta will be in Linz-Ottensheim Austria, 2021 in Banyoles Spain, 2022 in Libourne France, 2023 in Pretoria South Africa, and 2024 in Brandenburg Germany.

World Rowing Sprints

A new idea introduced in 2002 as an attempt to bring rowing to the centre of cities. The first (and only) event took place on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London and was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. Crews from Great Britain, United States, Germany, and the Netherlands took part in the 500 m race. Famous rowing champions raced, including Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell, and Marcel Hacker.

Each team was made up of 13 rowers (5 women, 7 men, and a cox). Events were held in Women's Single Sculls, Men's Single Sculls, Women's Double Sculls, Men's Pairs, Women's Pairs and Men's Fours. These crews then combined to form Mixed Quad Sculls and Eights.

Great Britain were the eventual winners and crowned the Mercedes-Benz Sprints Champions.

See also

  • Thomas Keller Medal, awarded annually by FISA to a rower(s) with an outstanding international career


  1. ^ a b "About FISA". World Rowing Federation. Retrieved 2018. The World Rowing Federation, FISA (from the French, Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron) is the governing body of the sport of rowing
  2. ^ "World Rowing Federation". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "International Rowing Federation". CRW Flags. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ "Erwartungen". Berliner Zeitung (in German). 21 (232). 24 August 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Für zwei Ruder-Mannschaften". Neue Zeit (in German). 20 (199). 26 August 1965. p. 7. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "Heute FISA-Kongreß". Berliner Zeitung (in German). 21 (313). 13 November 1965. p. 7. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "Ruderer mit eigener Mannschaft". Neues Deutschland (in German). 20 (314). 14 November 1965. p. 1. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "Längst überfällig ...". Neues Deutschland (in German). 20 (315). 15 November 1965. p. 4. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "2019 FISA Member National Federations" (PDF). FISA. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ "Coastal/Tour". Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "The first World Rowing Indoor Championships announced". Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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