07 March 2022

Tom George believes it is ‘massive’ for the Boat Race to return to the Thames

07 March 2022

British Olympic medallist Tom George has said it is massive that next month’s Boat Race will be back in London.

More than 250,000 spectators are expected to line the banks of the River Thames for the 167th Men’s and 76th Women’s Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford.

The 2020 race was cancelled amid the outbreak of Covid-19, while last year’s edition moved away from the capital for the first time since the war, taking place without spectators on Ely’s River Great Ouse.

The Cambridge (left) and Oxford crews were announced in London on Monday (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

But this year’s showdown on April 3 sees the race return to its traditional home between Putney and Mortlake on the 4.5-mile Championship Course.

George, who took bronze in Britain’s men’s eight team at Tokyo last summer, said: “It is massive for the event.

“It is going to be a nerve-wracking day full of excitement and energy that has built up, and there is a real appetite for it this year.

“When we are training in Putney, there are so many people who have come up to us and asked if it is back here this year, and said that they are really excited and they will come and watch.

Tom George and Ollie Wynne-Griffith (both Cambridge) and Charles Elwes (Oxford) won Olympic bronze for Great Britain in the men’s eights last summer (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)

“That aspect of it is really exciting, but it is important we make sure that we keep all of the noise internal. And if we can harness the crowd and use their energy without it becoming a distraction then it will be a positive thing.”

George will be joined in Cambridge’s boat by fellow eights’ bronze medallist, Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Switzerland’s 2016 Olympic gold medallist Simon Scheurch.

Oxford have five British crew members, including Angus Groom, who won Olympic silver in the men’s quadruple sculls last summer, and Charlie Elwes, a bronze medallist in the eight boat alongside George and Wynne-Griffith.

Cambridge are the defending champions but weighed in 35.6 kilograms lighter than rivals’ Oxford’s 821kg at Monday’s crew launch.

But George, 27, added: “It is a good thing that we are lighter.

“We knew that was going to be the case and we don’t want to be carrying extra weight we don’t need over that long course.

“We are in a good spot and while they might see it as an advantage that is probably a good thing. In terms of their outlook, we want them to underrate us as much as possible.”The 2022 women’s crews will be made up of eight nationalities, including Britain’s Imogen Grant.

Grant, who missed out on a bronze medal in the lightweight women’s double scull by just one hundredth of a second in Tokyo, sits in the stroke seat for Cambridge. 

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