It's a national event even if no national team is involved... What is it?
The Oxford Cambridge Boat Race!
Non hai mai sentito parlare della Regata Oxford Cambridge?
Vediamo insime di cosa si tratta!
Che cos'è la Oxford Cambridge Boat Race?
Dal 1829 (per gli uomini - 1927 per le donne) le univeristà di Oxford e Cambridge si sfidano in una regata di canottaggio lungo al Tamigi sotto gli occhi di tutta la nazione.
Infatti, anche se non partecipa nessuna squadra nazionale, la competizione è comunque trasmessa sulle reti nazionali.
Ogni anno più di 250,000 persone guardano la gara dalle sponde del fiume. Nel 2009, si arrivò addirittura al record di 270,000 spettatori. In più altri 15 milioni la seguono in televisione.
I due equipaggi sono composti entrambi da otto vogatori e un timoniere e la regata si disputa su una distanza di 6.799 metri.
Tolte le edizioni non ufficiali (4, avvenute durante la seconda guerra mondiale), fino al 2019 si sono svolte 165 edizioni maschili: Cambridge ha vinto 84 volte contro le 80 di Oxford.
Per la categoria femminile, Cambridge ha vinto 44 volte, mentre Oxford 30 volte.
10 fun facts about the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race!
- The first Oxford v. Cambridge boat race has been held annually since 1856, except during the two World Wars.
- The first race came about as a challenge between two school friends, one from Cambridge and one from Oxford, both named Charles: Charles Merivale (Oxford team) and Charles Wordsworth (Cambridge team). The race involved crews of eight from their respective seats of learning.
- The men's race was has been held annually since 1856. Between 1829 and 1956 the race happened at irregular times, then it became an annual sporting event and sticking to a fixed schedule. It
- The two competing teams row down a 4.2 mile section of the River Thames known as the Championship Course. Other locations have been used, including a stretch of the River Great Ouse which will be utilised for the 2021 race.
- In 1912, the race was run in very poor weather conditions and both teams sank after their boats began to fill with water.
Despite Oxford’s early lead, the race was abandoned and rescheduled for the following day.
- The 1877 race was declared a dead heat by race judge John Phelps and neither team won.
Both crews were said to finish in 24 minutes and eight seconds, finishing at exactly the same time. There were claims Oxford had finished ahead, witnessed by hundreds of spectators. But in more recent years this has been debunked as an optical illusion, as Phelps had by far the best vantage point from which to judge the result. Regardless, finishing posts were introduced the following year.
- Among the participants there are some famous personalities:
- Sir Matthew Pinsent (Oxford, 1990, 1991, 1993), four-time gold medallist rower and broadcaster
- Ran Laurie (Cambridge 1934, 1935, 1936), physician, Olympic rowing champion, and gold medallist
- Hugh Laurie (Cambridge 1980), actor, comedian and director
- Andrew Irvine (Oxford 1922, 1923), mountaineer
- Lord Snowdon (Cambridge 1950), photographer and filmmaker
- Dan Snow (Oxford 1999, 2000, 2001), historian
- In 2012 the race had to be restarted as spectator Trenton Oldfield deliberately swam into the river between the two boats in order to disrupt the rowers. The race was stopped and later restarted.
- A coin toss determines the side on which the teams will race. The two possibilities are either the Middlesex side of the river or the Surrey side. Each side has its pros and cons which are related to the way the river bends.
- The official color of both schools is blue. They only differ in the shade. Oxford Blue is a dark blue and Cambridge Blue is might lighter – more pastel.
Members of both crews are traditionally known as blues.
CUBC: Cambridge University Boat Club
OUBC: Oxford University Boat Club
- The first women's event has been held annually since 1927, it was run separately from the men's event until 2015.
Changes in recent years, arising significantly from some sponsorships, have made the two races more equal: both events have been held together and there are new training facilities for the women, comparable to those of the men, since 2016.
- The 2020 edition was cancelled, but the 2021 will take place, following the Covid-19 norms.
- The race has been held in 5 official locations:
- Henley-on-Thames, 2.25-mile (3.62 km) stretch of the River Thames between Hambleden Lock and Henley Bridge
- Westminster to Putney, 5.75-mile (9.25 km) stretch of the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Putney Bridge
- Championship Course, 4 miles and 374 yards (6,779 m) stretch of the River Thames between Putney to Mortlake
- Championship Course, 4 miles and 374 yards (6,779 m) stretch of the River Thames between Mortlake to Putney
- Great River Ouse, 5,350-yard (4.89 km) stretch of river between Adelaide Bridge and Sandhill Bridge
- The four races of the WWII (unofficial) have beel held away from London:
- River Great Ouse
- Boat race became such a popular phrase that it was incorporated into Cockney rhyming slang, for "face".
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