Oxford achieved a decisive victory in the 2014 Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race, with an 11 length lead. The Boat Race, held in London, is always a big event in the British sporting calendar, and this one was particularly eventful.
At the 5 minute point, Cambridge clashed oars with Oxford, and nearly lost an oar. By 6 minutes, Cambridge was over 2 lengths behind. The commentator said, “There’s no way back into this race for Cambridge.” Although Cambridge lodged an official protest at the finishing line, the umpire rejected the protest and ruled that the clash was the fault of Cambridge. There was much jostling for position in the first 5 minutes, to find the deepest and fastest water, and the umpire had to warn both crews for coming too close to each other.
Previous years have seen drama: two years ago a protester against ‘elitism’ swam into the path of the boat race, and back in 1978 the Cambridge boat sank after taking on too much water.
The 6,800 metre route starts just beyond Putney Bridge, proceeds to Hammersmith Bridge, then to Barnes Bridge, then the final 1,000 metres to the finish line, just short of Chiswick Bridge.
Oxford Boat Race President: Malcolm Howard
Cambridge Boat Race President: Steve Dudek
Oxford had several inbuilt advantages this year: they have the best track record of coping with choppy waters, and they had 3 Olympic rowers in their crew. Cambridge had none.
The very first Women’s Boat Race will take place in 2015, with equal status as the men’s.
Quirky fact: The coin toss to decide who takes the Surrey side (south bank) or Middlesex side (north bank) uses an 1829 sovereign, to mark the year of the first Boat Race.
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London