Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Boat Race

The 156th Oxford/Cambridge boat race takes place this Saturday at 11.30 am Eastern Standard Time. This year us people on the wrong side of the Atlantic may even get a chance to watch the race live on TV, providing you have access to BBC America. If you don't have BBC America, you can listen to the race build-up and commentary here on Radio Five Live via the internet. BBC Sport's Web site will also be showing the race live over the internets, apparently, though in previous years I've had little luck with this.

But why should you care about a race between two fancy British universities, more than 3,000 miles away? Well, for many people (including me) watching 'The Boat Race' is their first introduction to rowing. It's arguably the reason why the sport is so big in the U.K. and this year's race is set to reach its biggest ever audience (according to the race Web site). Raced over 4.2 miles on the part of the Thames that is tidal -- the 'Tideway' -- makes for a more exciting race than any Olympic 2000 metre course. Steering decisions can win and lose the race and the unpredictable English weather can often add an element of excitement. The race has been held since 1829 and Cambridge have a narrow lead over Oxford: 79-75. Oxford have won four of the last five races and betting odds have them favourite to win this year.

Nereid's membership (by my calculations) is currently tipped in favour of Cambridge (light blue) -- with at least three members having attended that institution, compared to one former Oxford (dark blue) student. Will you be cheering for the light or dark side?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was broadcast live 3 years ago on ESPNU. Prtty impressive grueling race, hauling ass for 4.2 miles. I find it interesting that at least half the crews are non Brits, hardly making it a pure British event. It is an excellent race.