The members of the Canadian men's quad and eights were on display when they won the gold medals at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto. It's what you get when you combine tight spandex with revealing red.
At the 2012 Olympics, assistant rowing coach at the University of Michigan Charley Sullivan detailed the issue:
You see, if you choose to row, and you have a penis and a testicle or two, said equipment will inevitably be on full display. ... This is a major piece of education that we do with our guys about two days before their first fall regatta, about the same time we give them their first pair of rowing shorts, or "trou" as we call them, short for trousers.
Trou are made of spandex. They’re tight enough to not get caught in the rolling mechanisms of the boat’s seats, and just loose enough to let you move well. Although you can wear underwear under them, it’s not particularly comfortable, it can get in the way, and really, there’s no need, so most male rowers I know go commando. Furthermore, many young men also shave their testicles; less hair to get caught in the moving parts. (This particular bit of knowledge is also often passed down by older guys on the team, not by the coaches. We draw a line somewhere.)
In any case, guys who row need to grow a pair and put on a pair, and to show off what they’ve got. Like swimmers and their Speedos, it’s territory that comes with the sport.
Here are the Canadian rowers in all their glory on the podium this week:
(Photos by Tom Szczerbowski and Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports)