London named host of rowing championships

The best university rowers in the world will take to the water in London as the Forrest City has been named host of the 2022 International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Rowing Championship, U SPORTS officials announced today.

“Hosting the championships is both an exciting step forward for international sport in Canada, as well as an honour for U SPORTS, together with Western, Rowing Canada Aviron, and Tourism London,” said Lisette Johnson Stapley, Chief Sport Officer at U SPORTS. “With FISU’s trust in our organizing committee, we relish the opportunity to stage an event of this calibre on the world stage and look forward to bringing more FISU events to Canada in concert with our sport, membership and community partners.”

FISU stages the multi-sport Summer Universiade and single-sport World University Championship events in alternating years. Zagreb, Croatia, will host the 2020 edition of the games next August.

Rowing is also slated to be part of the 2021 FISU Summer Universiade program in Chengdu, China.

In its last appearance against world competition, Canada captured a pair of silver medals in the women’s double and women’s eight at the 2018 FISU World University Championship in Shanghai, China.

In August 2022, 300 high-performance student-athletes from more than 20 countries will arrive in the City of London for competition hosted at Fanshawe Lake.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this event,” said Zanth Jarvis, Director (Sport Tourism) at Tourism London. “London has a storied history when it comes to rowing and the legacies resulting from this event will further enhance our city as a leader in the international rowing community.”

A national rowing hub for generations, London was home to Rowing Canada’s National Training Centre and its Women’s National Team at Fanshawe Lake for more than 30 years.

“Dating back to London’s first documented regatta in 1849, the Forest City has produced some of the finest rowers in Canada,” said Ed Holder, Mayor, City of London. “We look forward to welcoming the world to London in 2022, while adding to our community’s rich rowing history.”

Historically, Western Rowing has stood as an elite program in North America.

In 1957, rowing was recognized as a Western intercollegiate men’s sport after years of petitioning by future coach Phil ‘Doc’ Fitz-James. Rowing was introduced as a women’s sport in the early 1970s. Since those days, both programs have had incredible success.

The Western Mustangs have captured 14 combined men’s and women’s Canadian University Rowing Championship titles while adding 54 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) combined titles in program history. The program is the only Canadian university team to win the Henley Royal Regatta (England), and has claimed multiple Head of the Charles victories, the world’s most popular head race, held in Boston; multiple Dad Vail victories, an historic Philadelphia regatta; and multiple Canadian Henley victories, North America’s largest club regatta, in St. Catharines.

More than 120 Western rowers have represented Canada in international competition, winning medals at every level of competition including Junior, U23 and Senior World Championships, as well as Commonwealth, Pan-American and Olympic Games.

Western’s 35 rowing Olympians have won 20 medals starting with Roger Jackson in the Tokyo Games of 1964 to Lesley Thompson-Willie in the London Games of 2012.

Nine Western coaches, or former rowers, have coached at the international level, six at the Olympics, including current coach Volker Nolte, who led the 2016 Olympic team in Rio.

We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes that represent our country on the highest stage and are very excited that they will be able to do this at home,” said Daniel Bechard, Chair, Organizing Committee, and Head Coach, Western Rowing. “We are also very proud of our community and being able to work with Tourism London and our community partners in acquiring the rights to this event.”

This event will mark the fourth World University Championship awarded to Canada by FISU, which announced today nearly 40 WUC hosts for both the 2022 and 2024 seasons.

Previously, the 2010 FISU World University Cross Country Championship was hosted by Queen’s University, while the 1996 World University Judo Championship was held in Jonquière, Que. and 2002 FISU World University Wrestling Championship was awarded to the University of Alberta and staged in Edmonton. The Alberta capital was also the site of the 1983 FISU Summer Universiade – the lone World University Games Canada has hosted in its history.

“Western is proud to have been selected as host of the 2022 FISU World University Rowing Championship,” said Christine Stapleton, Director (Sports and Recreation). “Fanshawe Lake is a spectacular venue to host the championships. I know our Mustangs men’s and women’s rowing teams, their coaches and supporters are enthusiastically looking forward to welcoming the world to London in 2022.”

On the international stage, Canada has won 35 medals in FISU rowing competition – 11 gold, 12 silver, and 12 bronze.

Sixteen have come in World University Championship action since 2002, while the remaining 19 podium finishes came at the FISU Summer Universiade, where it has been contested as on optional sport on six occasions dating back to 1987.

“We are very pleased that London has been selected to host the 2022 World University Rowing Championship,”

“The London community and Western have a rich history of rowing success at Fanshawe Lake dating back over several decades,” said Terry Dillon, Rowing Canada Aviron Chief Executive Officer. “We are confident London is well-equipped to host such a prestigious event and look forward to welcoming rowers to Canada in 2022.”