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University Boat Race: Double Olympic Champion James Cracknell to become competition's oldest rower


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Double Olympic Champion James Cracknell is set to be the oldest competitor in the Boat Race when he rows for Cambridge next month.

The 46-year-old won Gold for Team GB in the coxless fours at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Cracknell retired from elite rowing in 2006 but qualifies because he is studying a Master of Philosophy degree in human evolution at the University.

Cambridge beat Oxford in the men's, women's and both reserve races of the annual event, held on the River Thames, in 2018.


Since the race started in 1856, the light blues are narrowly ahead with 83 victories to Oxford’s 80.


In the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Cracknell won gold in the coxless fours alongside Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent and Tim Foster.


The Londoner repeated that feat four years later in Athens with Pinsent, Ed Coode and Steve Williams.


“I’ve had to get back to being able to move in a rowing boat,” Cracknell told the BBC. “I am seven years older than one of the guy’s dads. I stopped rowing in 2004 and haven’t rowed since.”


Cracknell is also a former six-time champion at the World Rowing Championships, where he claimed gold medals in the coxless pair, coxed pair and coxless fours before retiring at the age of 33.


The previous oldest Boat Race competitor was Andy Probert who was 38 when he coxed the Cambridge boat in 1992. While, Mike Wherley was 36 when he rowed for Oxford in 2008.

The 164th edition of the race will take place alongside the women’s and reserve races on the River Thames on Sunday 7th April.


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