Zoe Gullen |

Maximising the Tokyo effect

An Olympic and Paralympic Games provides a global spotlight for rowing. Zoe Gullen talks to three clubs about their plans to make the most of this extra interest in the sport

The countdown clock stopped in 2020 as the pandemic took hold, but it was soon re-set and is now ticking down towards the Tokyo Games.

The Olympic rowing events get under way on the Sea Forest Waterway on 23 July, followed by the Paralympics on 27 August, and expectations will be high: rowing was one Team GB’s strongest sports at London and Rio. Following both Games, there was a significant uptick in interest in rowing, and Tokyo 2020 is set to be no different, presenting clubs with a golden opportunity to capitalise on the Tokyo effect to celebrate and promote the sport.

London 2012, in particular, delivered on its mission to inspire a generation, with around 11,500 people joining British Rowing in the following year.

Matt Pooley, captain of Lea RC, says: “2012 was a big year for the Lea. We are in Hackney, right next to the Olympic Park, so very visible to those attending the stadium, and the only club in the area with an existing learn to row set-up. This, combined with the general interest in sport and rowing, in particular, meant that we had a massive influx of new interested parties. We ran at least four concurrent learn to row courses over the summer, plus extra ‘fast-track’ courses in September/October 2012.”


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