Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalist Ollie Wynne-Griffith targeting victory in the boat race for the Cambridge team – as he becomes the THIRD member of his family to compete in venerable event
- Ollie Wynne-Griffith won bronze in the Great Britain eight at the Tokyo Olympics
- Sunday’s edition will mark Wynne-Griffith’s first, and probably last, boat race
- Wynne-Griffith is one of four British medal winners from Tokyo in the race
For Ollie Wynne-Griffith the Boat Race isn’t a fleeting few months in light blue; it is part of family mythology.
Growing up he saw the oars used by his grandfather, David Christie, in the 1958 and 1959 races hanging on the wall, a win and a loss for Cambridge. That’s not all. His great-grandfather, Harold Rickett, won three Boat Races, again for Cambridge, in 1930, 1931 and 1932, and umpired the contest in 1946.
Sunday’s 167th edition — back on the Championship Course in London after a two-year hiatus — will mark Wynne-Griffith’s first, and probably last, participation in the venerable event.
For Ollie Wynne-Griffith the Boat Race isn’t a few months in light blue; it is family mythology
Wynne-Griffith is one of four British medal winners from the Tokyo Olympics in the race
‘To know you are going through the same process as family members 60 or 90 years before is inspiring,’ said the 27-year-old Olympic medallist on a one-year MBA course, at Cambridge inevitably.
‘They are a large part of the reason I took up the sport. I now have the chance to write my own slice of history. A great thing about the Boat Race is that everyone can add to the story.
‘You carry the legacy while you’re here in the boathouse, and pulling the strokes, and then you pass it on to the people who come after.’
Wynne-Griffith is one of four British medal winners from the Tokyo Olympics in the race. His old school pal from Radley, Tom George, is another. The pair of them took bronze in the eight at the Games, along with Oxford’s Charlie Elwes.
Wynne-Griffith, who is studying at Peterhouse, is aiming for the Paris Olympics in 2024
Angus Groom, who won silver in the quadruple sculls, completes the quartet, also with Oxford. Wynne-Griffith, who is studying at Peterhouse, is aiming for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
But no matter how much international experience a rower has, the Boat Race is a unique pageant with 250,000 spectators crammed on the banks along the 4.25-mile course from Putney to Mortlake.
‘The thing I keep on being told is that you cannot imagine how much noise there is going to be,’ said Wynne-Griffith.
Sunday’s 167th edition is back on the Championship Course in London after a two-year hiatus
‘I will never have been in an atmosphere like it, where thousands of people are cheering while you’re boating, and then you go out of sight for the warm-up in almost dead quiet.’
Oxford are the bookmakers’ favourites, not least having weighed in nearly half-a-stone per man heavier than Cambridge: just over 14st 12lb versus fractionally under 14st 5lb.
If the Dark Blues triumph they will end a three-year era of Cambridge domination across the men’s and women’s races.
TV: Sunday LIVE on BBC One from 1.50pm.