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What is a 'Repechage' in Olympic competitions?

The term refers to a phase of the competition and loosely translated from French, "Repechage" means "second chance."

TOKYO, Japan — Rowing competition is underway at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

Those looking at the schedule may have noticed the term "Repechage" listed next to some of the days of competition and wondered what it meant. 

Repechage isn't a type of type of rowing or an event, but rather a phase of the competition format.

Every rowing event in the Olympics goes through the following rounds:

  • Heats
  • Repechage 
  • Semifinal (if there are more than 12 boats in the field)
  • Final

The heats are the initial qualification rounds. The top one or two boats automatically get to move into the semifinal or final rounds. The rest move into the Repechage. 

Loosely translated from French, Repechage means "second chance" and it initially makes the competition a double elimination competition. Those that did not qualify in the preliminary heats have a second chance to advance to either the semifinal or final round.

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 There are two types of rowing: sweeping, in which an athlete uses one oar and rows on one side of the boat, and sculling, in which an athlete uses two oars. There 14 Olympic rowing events - eights sculls and six sweeps. 

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