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Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell to create Boat Race history for Cambridge University Boat Club

James Cracknell competing in the Cambridge Duathlon at Bottisham in, where he finished 20th. Picture: Mark Westley
James Cracknell competing in the Cambridge Duathlon at Bottisham in, where he finished 20th. Picture: Mark Westley

James Cracknell will become the oldest rower in Boat Race history after being named in the Cambridge University crew to take on Oxford on Sunday, April 7.

The double Olympic gold medalist has been named in the Light Blues No 2 seat and, at the age of 46, will create history.

He will replace Andy Probert, who was 38 when he coxed Cambridge in 1992, as the oldest competitor and Mike Wherley as the oldest rower, the Oxford man was 35 years and eight months when he rowed in 2008.

Cracknell, who is studying an MPhil in human evolutionary studies at Peterhouse College, won Olympic gold in the men;s coxless four at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Athens Olympics in 2004.

He is also a six-time world champion having first represented Great Britain at the junior world championships in 1989.

President Dara Alizadeh and Freddie Davidson are the returning Blues for Cambridge, while cox Matthew Holland steered Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club to success in 2017.

“It’s impossible to appreciate what getting selected for the Boat Race is actually like,” said Cracknell.

“Training so intensive and competing with a group of guys for the same seats in a boat whilst studying hard at a top university, you could easily fall apart.

“The national team I was part of for so long could learn a thing or two from the Boat Race squads.

“After a tough year, making the Blue boat is arguably my proudest achievement in rowing. But making the boat is only the start, I and the other lads aren’t there for the kit and being selected, it’s about delivering on April 7.”

The Oxford crew has two returning Blues, Benedict Aldous and president Felix Drinkall.

The Dark Blues were marginally heavier on the scales at the official press announcement in London’s City Hall, topping the scales at 719.3kg compared to Cambridge’s 718.3kg.

Cambridge University Boat Club: Bow Dave Bell, James Cracknell, Grant Bitler, Dara Alizadeh*, Callum Sullivan, Sam Hookway, Freddie Davidson*, stroke Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, cox Matthew Holland*.

Oxford University Boat Club: Bow Achim Harzcheim, Ben Landis, Patrick Sullivan, Benedict Aldous*, Tobias Schroder, Felix Drinkall*, Charles Pearson, stroke Augustin Wambersie, cox Anna Carbery.

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