Controversy at the 2012 Boat Race
April 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
Cambridge have won the 2012 Boat Race, beating Oxford in a controversial and incident-filled competition.
The 158th rowing race between the two universities was halted at the half-way point when a swimmer emerged from the Thames River.
BBC commentator, Matthew Pinsent said during the 30 minute interval that, ‘it’s not ideal, but [is] a complete safety issue.’
The race was stopped just as it was heating up to be one of the closest man years. After race-favourites Oxford leapt out to half a boat-lenght lead at the beginning, the two crews were even when the swimmer appeared.
Liz Box, 2011 Oxford cox, speaking to the BBC said: ‘It’s one of the most exciting races we’ve seen in a while.’
The last time the race had to be re-started was in 2001 when a collision occured between the two crews.
And history was about to repeat itself just moments after the restart, eight and a half minutes out from the finish line.
30 seconds after the boats took off for the second time, Oxford knocked into Cambridge. The collision resulted in Oxford’s sixth oarsmen loosing the top of his oar, reducing the team to seven.
In a controversial move, the umpire, John Garreth, allowed the race to continue, ruling that Oxford was at fault, with Cambride breezing home as their opponents struggled to cross the finish line.
In spite of an immediate complaint by Oxford cox, Zoe De Toldeo, Garreth upheld his decision stating that he had warned Oxford twice before the incident occured.
‘The crews have to abide by their acts,’ he told the BBC.
‘Oxford were off their station… Cambridge were in their right station.’
Celebrations by Cambridge were muted as they crossed the finish line, as it was soon revealed that Oxford rower, Alex Woods had collapsed and was receiving medical treatment.
Instead of the usual post-match celebrations of singing, dancing throwing the winning cox into the river, Cambridge quietly huddled together.
Cambridge oarsman, Steve Dudek, spoke to the BB C saying, ‘we are having a little bit of class’ out of respect to Woods.
There was no presentation ceremony due to the medical incident.