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Sunday, March 27, 2005

The 151st Boat Race

Off to London this morning to cheer on the Dark Blues in their 151st matchup against Cambridge on the Thames. The "boat race" has become one of the most popular events in the British sporting calender, certainly not to be missed. According to the Boat Race website:
For the last five years, the BBC Television audience for the Boat Race has averaged over six million, making it a top five live televised annual British sporting event (along with the Grand National, the FA Cup Final, Wimbledon Men"s final and the British Grand Prix). In 2003 the TV audience for The Race was 7.7 million. The event also has a huge international following with an estimated global audience of 400 million in around 180 countries.
And this is not just your regular University-squad challenge. 7 of the 16 rowers facing off rowed in Athens, including Canadian silver medalist Barney Williams. Oxford's crew weighs in as the heaviest in the history of the event and has attracted marginal betting support, although the Cambridge crew apparently has the advantage in technique. The head-to-head nature of the race combined with its exceptional 4 mile distance makes this all the more unique. As Oxford's Andy Hodge put it earlier this week:
“This race feeds off the competition. Unlike the Olympics or World Championships, where you get a silver medal for finishing second, in the Boat Race, you just lose.”
It should be a fantastic afternoon. Cooper has promised to bring the Pimm's and I have printed off the Boat Race Pub Guide 2005, so no doubt we'll be in good form. Hopefully the race will be competitive and records will be broken. A full report with pictures when we emerge on Monday.

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