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What a race!

Just to say, in my capacity as the self-appointed Senior Samizdata Sports Commentator, that the best Oxford University versus Cambridge University boat race ever has just finished. When it did finish, they were not sure who had won, so close was it. Unbelievable.

Personally I don’t care anything about the Boat Race, or I didn’t until about one minute ago. It just happened to be on the telly while I was composing this for my Culture Blog, which has now gone daily.

Usually it is clear who is going to win the Boat Race in the first twenty seconds, and from then on it’s a procession. In this one the lead changed about four times, including just before or just after the finish because Cambridge were closing so fast.

It was the kind of sporting event where, as the commentators said just afterwards, all eighteen will be brothers for life. But get this: four of them already were brothers, the Smiths and the Livingstones, each pair in opposite boats.

Official verdict: Oxford by ONE FOOT. Closest race ever, apparently, because the “dead heat” they had in 1572 or whenever it was wasn’t really. It was just that the umpire that day was drunk.

I overheard another interesting titbit in among the preparatory waffling. Apparently 90% of these oarsmen go into “banking”, by which I think they meant “merchant” banking. I don’t know what this proves. It could be that rowing is a fine preparation for financial titans. Or it could be that the financial services industry contains a lot of people with more ex-brawn than current brain. A bit of both, I should guess. They don’t get paid anything to be in this race, but it seems that they clean up afterwards. Investment in networking. Speculate to accumulate. Apparently they were racing for the “Aberdeen Asset Management Trophy”. It figures.

Some things the BBC does do well. They had this report up within minutes.

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