Boat Race Moments: Intruders, Cambridge sink and Oxford win by a foot
What are the most dramatic and memorable Boat Races?
A huge weekend of sport isn’t just about the FA Cup and the Grand National. The 165th Men’s Boat Race and the 74th Women’s Boat Race will also take place along the River Thames.
Here we look back on five of the most dramatic and memorable Boat Race Moments, starting with an unexpected intruder in 2012.
2012 – Someone in the water
One of the most dramatic boat races of all-time produced two huge incidents. First a protestor in the water caused a temporary pause to the race for only the second time in the history of the event.
Then once the race was restarted 30 minutes later one of the Oxford crewmen suffered irreparable damage to his blade following a clash of oars. Cambridge went on to win the race by 4½l.
2004 – Cambridge win the 150th running
The 2004 Boat Race was memorable for a number of reasons. It was the 150th running of the Men’s race, the 50th live broadcast by the BBC and it sparked complaints of a re-row from the Oxford crew.
They were unhappy following several clashes of oars throughout the race which reportedly impeded their progress. Umpire James Behrens wasn’t having any of it as Cambridge retained the 6l win.
2003 – Oxford win by a foot
Steve Redgrave suggested the 2003 Boat Race was the “greatest we will see in our lifetimes”. It’s difficult to disagree. Oxford triumphed in a nail-biting to-and-fro contest by just one foot.
It’s the narrowest winning margin in boat race history and remains one of the all-time great contests between the two crews. Cambridge’s Tom James would later go on to become a double Olympic champion.
1978 – Cambridge sink
The boat race has had its fair share of dramatic moments over the years. But they don’t come much more dramatic than one of the boats sinking midway through the contest.
Five have capsized in the history of the race. Cambridge were the last in 1978 when their boat took on water from the strong headwind and driving rain to hand Oxford an easy victory.
1927 – Oxford win the first Women’s Boat Race
Cambridge hold the advantage over Oxford when it comes to the all-time head-to-head record in the Women’s Boat Race. The foremost crew has won 43 events compared to 30 for the latter.
But it wasn’t plain sailing for Cambridge at the beginning. Oxford won the first contest which was judged not as a side-by-side race but by style and timings against the clock. It’s fair to say plenty has changed since.
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