I had an interesting conversation with my dad this weekend. He lives in Australia’s Perth, the most remote city on Earth I believe it’s called. He hadn’t yet heard about the ‘Trenton!’ incident that took place this weekend on the River Thames. It’s a stretch of the river we used to live near. I’ve never rowed it as I don’t have a death wish, but I did feel privileged (and not elitist at all) to live around there. The only thing I know is that no one goes swimming in the Thames because it is so dangerous. Just ask the London whale that ended up in Battersea that time when he took a wrong turn by Graves End.
So it was a no-brainer that the guy in a wetsuit swimming in the middle of the river as Oxford and Cambridge’s boats came through was clearly unhinged and/or a protester of sorts. I don’t want to name him as he’s had his five minutes of fame, but it does seem he has created more anxiety about protesters turning up to the Olympics and putting an end to years of preparation and desire in the blink of an eye. He was protesting about ‘elitism’ – although it probably came across as more of a dislike of Oxbridge and ‘posh’ people. Which is curious, not least because there is no money in rowing, unlike football for example. See more >
Anyway, so turns out, ‘big T’ as I shall call him, is in fact a privately educated chappie from Sydney, who has swapped ‘classless’ Australia for ye olde England. An oxymoron if ever there was one. The Cambridge captain was interviewed about their ‘win’ and he was also Australian. Apparently the crew included oarsmen of six different nationalities in total. I’m not sure who else was English, apart from the umpire maybe, who, in my humble opinion, should have stopped the race when an Oxford rower’s oar broke and made the race unfair, resulting in an ambulance being called for one of the team at the finish line. Dr Woods is now thankfully out of the woods – hope you’re feeling better.
It was the most eventful boat races in years, but with one eye on the Olympics, I think we should all be thankful no one ended up like that poor whale.
See also Trenton/Fenton mash-up as reported in Australia.