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Buda Mendes/CPB

In Brazil, adapted rowing dates back to 1980, when it started as part of a rehabilitation programme for people with disability in Rio de Janeiro. It was not until 2001 that the International Rowing Federation (FISA) made a formal request for the sport to be included in the Paralympic programme. Indeed, another seven years went past before the sport made its Paralympic debut in Beijing 2008. So far, Brazil has one silver medal to its name, won at the Beijing Games in 2008.

The first world championship was held in Spain in 2002, with seven countries taking part. That year, a protocol was signed on which nations committed themselves to develop the sport. Two years later, the world championship brought together twenty-four countries.

CPBThe events are held over a 1000m course. In fact, adapted rowing is called so, because of the modifications made to the boats in order to ensure that disabled athletes may compete safely. One, two or four people with different limitations may compete on the boats. Categories are established based on which limb the competitor uses to push the boat.


Limb used for pushing the vessel forward

Only arms. Single skiff boat, fixed seat and backrest

TA 2x
Torso and arms. Double skiff boat, with mixed crew and fixed seat

LTA 4+
Legs, torso and arms. Four skiff boat, with coxswain and mixed crew (two men and two women). Sliding seat


From tragedy to the podium

Bronze in London 2012, the doubles team made up by Oksana Masters and Rob Jones from the United States are known as Team Bad Company. They won the USA's first medal in the sport in the TaMix2x category, finishing the course in 4:05.56. However, their own personal history before turning to the sport is what stands out the most. Oksana Masters was born in the Ukraine, but while her mother was expecting her, there was a nuclear leak in her hometown of Khmelnytskyi, a little after the Chernobyl accident. As a result of the radiation, the girl, who is now twenty-four, was born with several disabilities in her legs, feet and hands, and was abandoned in an orphanage.  While she was still a child, she needed to have her two legs amputated. In a second orphanage, she suffered from violence and abuse, before being adopted at the age of seven by an American single mother. Rowing came into Oksana's life at the age of thirteen, which made her known in the foreign media and earned her an invitation to take part is a semi-nude photo shoot. In 2010, the athlete broke the world record at a competition in Boston.

There is another impressive story sharing the boat with Oksana. In 2010, Rob Jones was serving the US Navy in Afghanistan, when he was hit by an explosion.  As a result of the accident, he had to have both his legs amputated just above the knees. The doubles team was brought together less than a year before the 2012 Paralympic Games and actually asked their friends for help so that they could go to London. There, they won the USA's first ever medal in the sport.

See also

Brazilian Rowing Confederation (CBR)

International Rowing Federation (FISA)