1984 saw British senior women competing at two major championships for the first time: the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where a boycott by all but one of the dominant Eastern block countries offered a unique opportunity for our openweight crews; and the FISA* Championships for Lightweights in Montreal, which included a programme of ‘test’ events for women.
These lightweight events were not only the first international races for women’s lightweights, but also the first that women raced over 2,000m under FISA auspices.
Los Angeles Olympic Games
In the end, five GB women’s boats were selected to compete in LA, which was the largest team we’d had since 1960. For at least the previous two years FISA had been very concerned that women’s rowing (and possibly even rowing altogether) might be dropped from the Olympic programme as a result of low levels of entries, and had been actively calling for Western European nations in particular to send as many crews as possible.
FISA Championships for Lightweights
At a time when none of the 2017 GB women’s lightweight were even born, the four crews in the British women’s team borrowed boats, and paid all of their own expenses to take part in this event and open up the category for future generations.
* Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron (FISA) – the governing body of international rowing.