Controversies 

 

The Boat Race while fiercely contested is generally raced within a spirit of fair-play. There has however been a few controversial incidents over the 182 year history of the race. 

2012: Swimmers & Breakages  

Perhaps the most controversial of any of the races in the fixtures long history. A close race was blighted by a swimmer shortly after Chiswick Eyot just as Oxford were set to make a decisive push. Halted by umpire John Garrett while the swimmer was arrested, the race eventually restarted.  Just 35 seconds after the restart, Oxford cox Zoe de Toledo steered too close to Cambridge resulting in a clash and a broken blade for the dark blues. Cambridge went on to win by over 4 lengths. Read more

2012: Swimmers & Breakages

A tight race just before the mayhem of a swimmer on the course

Rebellious Oxford 

The most famous controversy is the "mutiny" by Oxford athletes in 1987. Still controversial more than 20 years later, Oxford had lost the previous year, following a long run of success, and as the race drew closer 5 American athletes in the squad refused to row for coach Dan Topolski or President Donald Macdonald following disputes about selection and training methods. 

To the surprise of many, Oxford, with a crew partially composed of oarsmen from the reserve team, went on to win the race. Read More

Rebellious Oxford

Donald Macdonald, right, 1987 Oxford President with Mike Spracklen a member of the coaching team

The race is stopped 

2001 saw the race stopped by umpire Rupert Obholzer just over a minute after the start, following repeated warnings to both crews and then a clash of blades for which Oxford were held responsible.

The umpire restarted the race, however controversy still rages about whether it should have been stopped and whether the result was affected. Cambridge won but changes were subsequently made including the introduction of an umpiring panel. Read More

The race is stopped

Rupert Obholzer controversial umpire of the 2001 Race

The Blue who wasn't 

Thorsten Engleman a German international rowed for Cambridge in the 2006 and 2007 races, yet days after the 2007 race dropped out of Cambridge in order to concentrate on selection for the German squad for the 2008 Olympics. 

In an unprecedented move CUBC did not award his Blue, the recognition of sporting excellence, and he became the first and only oarsman in the history of the event not to be awarded a Blue for taking part. Read More

The Blue who wasn't

Thorsten Engleman

The Boat Races: The Basics

The Boat Races: The Basics
An introduction to The Boat Races Read more

Classic Moments

Classic Moments
Nail-biting races and battles against the elements! Read more