Why rowing is the most underrated Olympic sport
Britannia rules baby
With our great Olympic success lately, I think we all need to admit something. Rowing is the best sport on the planet, and it’s time it gets the respect it deserves.
Say “Boat Race”, two words that could actually have a huge number of meanings, and you only think of one thing. THE boat race, Oxford vs Cambridge.
Look at our Medals in the Olympics, and you’ll see that GB excel everywhere, but rowing always takes more than its fair share compared to most other sports. And Sir Steve Redgrave, an instantly recognisable name.
So why does rowing seem to lack the mass appeal it so richly deserves? Why is Katherine Grainger only a household name during Rio? This sport deserves so much more, and I say we give it to it.
Our Olympic squad has been the dominant force on the boat lake for the past three Olympics, getting three golds, two silvers and five bronzes this Olympics alone.
I remember being at Henley for London 2012, looking at the Team GB athletes being mobbed by the surrounding fans like they were gods. Not that they were arrogant, more that everyone there thought that they were amazing. The hero worship that day was bigger than that of any footballer.
Anyone who’s rowed at any level above trying to be cute on a boat pond knows that it’s an incredibly demanding sport. The hell of winter training, 2Ks on rowing machines making you curse every god known beneath the sun, early starts and late finishes. And we love it.
We thrive on the punishment like athletic masochists, and reap the rewards when we get that little bit faster, better, stronger. Maybe this is why it’s less celebrated – it’s not something you can just pick up. No-one has ever decided to have a quick cox’d 8 race in their lunch break at school.
Also, the fashion. The ridiculous, glorious fashion. Blazers of bright club colours, leggings that could well be camouflage in a surrealist exhibit, Lycra onesies that show off your crotch in a obvious but classy way.
Rowers are used to seeing each other sweaty, vomiting, semi-conscious wrecks, and as such we don’t tend to care about appearances. We just have fun with it.
Rowing is the pinnacle of human excellence and the shocking disregard for colour schemes. It’s one of those sports you still cling to, even if you don’t do it anymore.
Face it: a piece of yourself that will always know there is no sport like rowing.