Rowing has produced some of the most decorated Olympians of all time, with the likes of Great Britain's Sir Steve Redgrave and legendary Romanian Elisabeta Lipa setting the benchmark for the current crop of stars.
Competed at every Games of the modern era, the sport has become an integral part of the schedule - although at the inaugural event in 1896 the competition had to be cancelled because of bad weather, and it was not until Paris 1900 that the first medals were handed out.
Requiring pure brute force and precision timing, rowing events use either a 'sculling' technique - where the rower has one oar in each hand - or 'sweeping' - where just one single oar is used.
Boats range from crews of just one to those with eight rowers - the latter being the only event currently on the Games schedule where the crew are joined by a cox, or coxswain, who sits in the front of the boat and dictates the race tactics.
The cox is traditionally someone who is light and small in stature in order to limit the amount of weight being carried in the boat.
There are 14 medal events in total at the London 2012 regatta, staged at the picturesque surroundings of Eton Dorney in Buckinghamshire - which also successfully hosted the 2006 World Championships.
Both men and women compete in the single sculls, pairs, double sculls, lightweight double sculls, quadruple sculls and eights - while there are separate races in the men's competition in both the fours and the lightweight fours.
Each event is made up of heats, with the winner progressing to a semi-final or sometimes straight to a six-boat final. Depending on the number of boats entered, the crews who do not win their heat may also gain another chance to progress in the repechage phase.