Olympic rowers reluctantly got a day off Sunday when strong winds whipped up treacherous waves.
The regatta was called off after a two-hour delay at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and officials said there would be no racing until Monday. Crews were getting ready for qualifying heats in women’s pair, men’s four and other events.
“It’s an outdoor sport so you really can’t get too upset about it,” said Vincent Breet of South Africa’s men’s four. “It’s the way it goes.”
International rowing federation executive director Matt Smith said gusts of up to 34 mph (15 meters per second) were pushing buoys into the lanes and a couple of boats capsized during morning practice. He said races would be rescheduled for Monday and Tuesday when less wind is expected.
“We’re hopeful that it will settle down,” Smith said, adding it’s possible to extend the race program by one day until Aug. 14 and schedule more races in the remaining days if the high winds persist.
“We are old and experienced in staging regattas. We have a lot of tricks up our sleeves,” he said.
British rowing performance director David Tanner supported the decision to abandon competition Sunday even though it means a more crammed schedule in coming days.
“I will assume that over the next few days there will be enough time to slot the racing in,” Tanner said.
Wind also complicated racing on the first day of rowing Saturday when Serbia’s men’s pair capsized and other competitors struggled to keep their boats from taking on water.