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Digital Subscriptions > Row360 > Feb | Mar 2019 > MY WORD


In recent months it has felt as if pretty much every week has brought the announcement that yet another Olympic rower is stepping out of retirement and back into the boat. I’m not complaining, there is nothing like a good comeback story. But it’s beginning to feel like something of a phenomenon. Most recently it was Hamish Bond, one half of the unbeatable ‘Kiwi Pair’, who declared he was dusting off his oars and realigning his sights on Tokyo after calling quits on his two-year dalliance with international cycling. Bond follows in the wake of Kiwi sculler Emma Twigg who announced her return late last year. Twigg talks to us directly in this issue, describing her newfound enthusiasm for training and racing, after seemingly haven fallen out of love with the sport after Rio. Yet the most beguiling comeback story of them all is surely that of James Cracknell. This is a man, after all, who has made an art form out of pushing his body to the limits. In this new chapter of what has already been an extraordinary life story, Cracknell is mounting a return to competitive rowing, 15 years after retirement, at the age of 46. If he wins a seat in the Cambridge University Blue Boat this April at the 2019 Oxford Cambridge Boat Races, he will be the oldest competitor in the race’s nearly 200-year history – by a margin of 10 years. I was given exclusive access, spending a day observing Cracknell as he fights like hell to make the cut. I also spoke to both his coach and Cambridge teammates for this issue’s cover story.

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Still Fighting: James Cracknell, 15 years after retirement, is on the verge of making history again. Front Row Seat: Preparing for The Boat Race, by cox Matthew Holland 2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships: Long Beach, California