The 158th boat race between the crews of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was delayed yesterday when some guy named Trenton Oldfield swam into the path of the competing boats.
Up until the interruption the boat race had been a neck and neck battle between two sets of highly trained and prepared athletes putting their all to test before the eyes of the world.
This was a one off event with no second place; they either won or lost; a gold medal or nothing.
So, to have their moment threatened by a grinning monkey who thought that his little private beliefs were more valuable than their months of preparation, must have been galling to the rowers.
Although they eventually won, I wonder if the victory had a bit of a hollow ring to it for Cambridge at the end of the day due to the manner of their win. And as for Oxford, the favourites at the start of the day, I have great sympathy for them.
After the race had been stopped there had been a lengthy delay until the restart after which the crews clashed oars with Oxford losing a blade. But as the umpire believed that it was Oxford’s fault the race was left to run to its inevitable conclusion of a Cambridge win. A decision backed by the reserve umpire Sir Matthew Pincent.
Just to put the record straight I have never attended either university so have no vested interest in the continuation of some sort of ‘elitism’ of the sort that Oldfield was supposed to be combating.
The boat race is not about elitism, it is about proud tradition. Two sets of amateurs (yes amateur, they do it for the love of it) pit their strengths against each other once a year because that’s what those that went before them did.
If Trenton Oldfield thought he would somehow capture a public support for his actions he was greatly mistaken. The British public it seems recognises the boat race for what it is and there has been no massive public support for the self proclaimed anti-elitist.
And a quick look at what is believed to be Oldfield’s web-site ‘Elitism leads to Tyranny’, where he published his plan to try and stop boat race proceedings, shows just how juvenile Oldfield’s views are. Is his asking security guards to do such things as setting off fire alarms, not replace toilet rolls and setting off stink bombs really something other than the ramblings of the deluded?