Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:55 pm

Cambridge defeat Oxford after Thames swimmer forces Boat Race restart

• Boat Race halted after man spotted swimming in Thames
• Oxford's chances ruined by broken oar after pulling into lead
• Oxford bow man Alex Wood given medical treatment after race

Staff and agencies

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 7 April 2012 15.27 BST


Cambridge and Oxford oars collide resulting in a broken blade for the Oxford crew, right, during the Boat Race. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Cambridge won a dramatic Boat Race against Oxford on Saturday following a 31-minute mid-race postponement after a man jumped into the River Thames and swam between the crews, a stunt that is bound to spark security concerns ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

When the race was restarted halfway along the course, Oxford's German rower Dr Hanno Wienhausen lost half of his oar after the crews clashed allowing Cambridge to cruise to victory over effectively seven oarsmen. A margin of victory wasn't given by officials.

Oxford bow man Dr Alexander Woods required medical attention after appearing to collapse after the race, reportedly because of exhaustion. Assistant umpire Matthew Pinsent later told the BBC that Woods was sitting upright. The trophy presentation was delayed while doctors attended to the stricken rower.

"It's a huge relief but it's shocking to see Alex in such a state," said the Cambridge president, Dave Nelson.

Wearing a wetsuit, the intruder who caused the restart, plunged into the Thames at the Surrey bend stage of the race, with around one-and-a-half miles left in the four-and-a-quarter mile course. As the two boats approached him, he ducked his head under the water narrowly avoiding the oars of the Oxford crew.

The man resurfaced, with a big smile across his face, and was picked up by a police boat. Once on dry land, he was led away, wrapped in a red blanket. Oxford were slightly ahead at the time of the postponement.

"I saw a head," said Cambridge's American oarsman Steve Dudek. "I looked over and thought they had lost a guy [out of the Oxford boat]. Our cox immediately said 'stop'."

The race was restarted from Hammersmith Bridge, around the 2-mile point.

"It's not ideal but given those circumstances what could we do?" said Pinsent, a four-time Olympic gold medallist. "Fortunately we spotted him and stopped the race."

The last time the race had to be restarted was in 2001 when there was a clash of blades and an oar was lost by one of the crews. At the end of the race, the Oxford cox Zoe De Toledo appealed for the race to be re-run because there was too much wash on the course after the postponement, but her appeal was turned down by the race umpire John Garrett.

"I did not agree with their appeal so the result stands," Garrett said.

The fact that Cambridge extended its lead in the overall series to 81-76 will be lost in all the drama of the 158th running of one of England's oldest and most prestigious sporting fixtures.

"With all the hoohah and the restart and the clash it was a pretty dramatic race," Nelson said. "It was too-ing and fro-ing until the island then suddenly there was yelling about an obstruction and I saw a head between the crews. It's not the way anyone wants to take away the win.

"We're more worried about the Oxford guys right now and we'll reflect later on what's gone on."

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:59 pm

Why 'class warrior' brought the Boat Race to a standstill

Privately educated guerrilla 'toff' Trenton Oldfield says he was expressing disgust for upper echelons of society

Joshua Layton

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 7 April 2012 21.17 BST


Trenton Oldfield is taken away after his arrest by river police. The Boat Race had to be restarted after he swam into the path of the crews. Photograph: Barcroft Media

Privately educated with an MSc in contemporary urbanism from the London School of Economics, Trenton Oldfield makes an unlikely agitator against elite society.

His achievements also include becoming a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and working for non-governmental organisations specialising in regeneration programmes.

However, the self-proclaimed activist turned his back on his connections to high society when he swam into the path of the Oxford and Cambridge rowing crews, causing the race to be suspended for the first time in 11 years. The oars of both crews skimmed past him as he ducked under the water.

Wearing a wet-suit and with a smile on his face, the 35-year-old protester was hoisted on to the umpire's boat, handcuffed and arrested by river police. Last night he was charged with a public order offence and released on bail to appear before magistrates on 23 April.

Cambridge eventually won the restarted race but that seemed like a minor detail after the most bizarre series of events in the competition's history. The drama continued as Oxford rower Alex Woods collapsed at the finish line after the race had restarted. He received 30 minutes of treatment from paramedics before being taken to Charing Cross hospital, where his condition was described as stable.

Oldfield's plunge into the Thames drew condemnation from Karl Hudspith, president of the Oxford University Boat Club. Hudspith wrote on Twitter: "To Trenton Oldfiled (sic); my team went through seven months of hell, this was the culmination of our careers and you took it from us."

Oldfield's LinkedIn profile says he helped set up This is Not a Gateway, a non-profit organisation that "creates platforms for critical projects and ideas related to cities".

He describes himself as "rich, open-minded, multidisciplinary, efficient, focused, intelligent, honest, unique". Oldfield is listed as having worked in project management roles for various charities and non-governmental organisations, including as a co-ordinator of a project to regenerate the Thames between Kew and Chelsea.

In many ways, Oldfield makes a perfect candidate to join the upper echelons of society whose day out at the Thames he rudely disrupted.

Somewhere along the way, however, he appears to have developed a grudge. On a blog entitled Elitism Leads to Tyranny, he uses a 2,000-word manifesto to justify the use of "guerrilla tactics" to disrupt the event, citing the stretch of river as a heartland of establishment power. He writes: "This is a protest, an act of civil disobedience, a methodology of refusing and resistance." Oldfield's blog dismisses the Boat Race as a "pseudo competition" that allows the elites to "reboot their shared culture in the public realm".

"Most standing alongside the Thames today are in fact the pumped-up though obedient administrators, managers, promoters, politicians and enforcers; functional, strategic and aspirational elites," he writes. "The transnational-corpo-aristocratic ruling class (invisible) haven't turned up today and would never consider doing so, despite the best endeavours of Bollinger, Xchange and Hammersmith & Fulham's mayor."

Oldfield also sets out his doctrine of guerrilla tactics, citing his inspiration as suffragette Emily Davison, who died after throwing herself in front of the king's horse at Epsom Derby in 1913.

"My swim into the pathway of the two boats today (I hope) is a result of key guerrilla tactics; local knowledge, ambush, surprise, mobility and speed, detailed information and decisiveness," he writes. "There is no choice but to be apprehended in this action. I know this area very well and have planned the swim as best as I can, taking into account all the local knowledge I have gained."

Oldfield's doctrine finishes with a series of bullet points encouraging acts of civil disobedience, including workers setting off fire alarms in their offices and plumbers sabotaging Conservative thinktanks. He asks: "If you have a tow truck company, can you park in front of Nick Clegg or David Cameron's driveway, accidentaly? (sic) Could you tow their car away?" The blog ends: "This is a special call to security guards. The elite depend on you the most. Without you they are nothing."

Oldfield's blog
Edited extracts

This is a protest, an act of civil disobedience, a methodology of refusing and resistance. This act has employed guerrilla tactics. I am swimming into the boats in the hope I can stop them from completing the race and proposing the return of surprise tactics. This is 'peaceful'… I have no weapons (don't shoot!). My only fear is not swimming fast enough to get in the right position.

This part of the Thames is the site of a number of elitist establishments – Fulham Palace, Chiswick House and St Paul's Schools – and a large collection of other 'independent/public/free schools'. It is also where Nick Clegg lives with his family, despite his constituents living hundreds of miles away in post-industrial Sheffield.

Most notably, and most importantly for today, it is a site where elitists and those with elitist sympathies have come together for the past 158 years to perform, in the most public way, their ambition for the structures and subsequent benefits from elitism and privilege to continue. (They even list in the programme which public school the rowers attended before Oxford or Cambridge).

The Boat Race itself, with its pseudo competition, assembled around similar principles of fastest, strongest, selected … etc, is an inconsequential backdrop for these elite educational institutions to demonstrate themselves and reboot their shared culture together in the public realm.

My swim into the pathway of the two boats today (I hope) is a result of key guerrilla tactics; local knowledge, ambush, surprise, mobility and speed, detailed information and decisiveness.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:03 pm

Cambridge's Boat Race captain David Nelson: 'We didn't expect this'

• Cambridge take win after protester forces race to restart
• Oxford rower taken to hospital after passing out after finish line

Andy Bull at Mortlake

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 7 April 2012 21.25 BST


During the Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race a swimmer forces the Thames race to be halted. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters

It was Matthew Pinsent who saw it first. A little black-haired and bearded head bobbing up in down in the muddy brown water. All other eyes, those of the thousands thronging the banks and hundred-odd in the dozen vessels following the race, were fixed on the two crews, who were 10 minutes in to what was shaping up to be one of the closest, most exciting, Boat Races in history.

Pinsent yelled out to the umpire, John Garrett, "There's something in the water! There's something in the water." And so there was. That something appeared to be doing the doggy-paddle right in front of the Oxford boat. Seconds later, Garrett suspended the race by sticking up his red flag.

"We've said all the way through the campaign to expect the unexpected," said the Cambridge's captain, David Nelson. "But we didn't expect this." For the next 30 minutes, it was chaos on the river. The flotilla of boats carrying photographers, journalists and sponsors on corporate junkets, circled round and round, chopping up the water. On the banks the spectators cried out loud boos, and on a pontoon on the Middlesex side a single protester, Trenton Oldfield, was looking very pleased with himself while the river police put handcuffs around his wrists and a towel around his neck.

The first thought was that it must have been a student jumping into the water after one too many, but a man would have to drink an awful lot of ale before he threw himself into the freezing, rubbish-strewn Thames to try and hold up the Boat Race armada. Besides, Oldfield was wearing a wetsuit, and while he refused to explain what he was doing in the river, it was clear that he was not there by accident.

It seems that Oldfield's was an act of protest, and is likely to be the first of many such we see in Olympic year. If anything, Oldfield's display will only intensify the security that surrounds the Games. Later in the day, a blog emerged online, ostensibly by Oldfield, explaining in rambling fashion that he was protesting against "elitism", which is "a cause of tyranny". In the blog Oldfield wrote that "THIS IS 'PEACEFUL' ... I HAVE NO WEAPONS (DON'T SHOOT!) MY ONLY FEAR, IS NOT SWIMMING FAST ENOUGH TO GET IN THE RIGHT POSITION TO PREVENT THE BOATS." [sic] He was lucky that it was Pinsent, and not his old partner Sir Steve Redgrave, who was on board with the umpire. The story goes that when a race at Henley was interrupted by a man who paddled out into the river, Redgrave punched a hole in the side of his canoe.

It is easy to mock the Boat Race. It can seem anachronistic and over-hyped, and it is undeniably elitist, the banks are lined with old buffers in blazers, spilling champagne as they roar support for their old universities. But it is also one of the single most gruelling athletic endeavours in the world, four miles and 374 yards of agonising effort and lung-busting pain. It has broken men before now, as in 2002 when the German Olympic rower Seb Meyer collapsed before the finish line, spent. There was a stark reminder of just how severe and taxing an ordeal it is when Oxford's bow rower, Dr Alex Woods, passed out after crossing the finish. For 30 minutes he was prone in the boat, receiving treatment by paramedics. He was taken to Hammersmith's Charing Cross hospital, where his condition was said to be stable.

Garrett had said beforehand that he would restart the race if there was a "collision with an outside agency", though no one was expecting the boats to encounter anything much more menacing than the pashmina shawl that had wrapped itself around Oxford's fin during one of their practice runs earlier in the week. Garrett had to decide where to begin that restart, taking into account which of the two boats was leading at the time of the stoppage – in the end he checked with the BBC, who told him it was a dead-heat. Then he had to bring the boats back down river and wait for the swell caused by all the motorboats to settle down. All the while, he was racing against the tide, which was changing, and wrestling with the worry about whether or not he should simply call the race off and start again on Sunday.

In all the confusion, it was the Cambridge crew who kept their heads. Their No7 rower, Alexander Scharp, explained that his first thought was: "We've got to get in their heads before they get in ours." Scharp looked over at the Oxford boat, and shouted out as loud he could "Yeah! More racing! Let's go back to the start!" It was a barefaced lie, but it seemed to sum up the difference between the two crews. During the stoppage Cambridge ran through a few practice starts, while Oxford, spooked, ambled a little aimlessly around the river.

The race had been billed as a battle of the coxes. Oxford's, Zoe De Toledo, was much more experienced than Cambridge's Ed Bosson, a 19-year-old in his first year. But it was Bosson who took, and kept, control of the race. Oxford leapt ahead at the restart, and Toledo moved across towards the Cambridge boat to try and take the racing line. Garrett warned the Oxford boat twice, but he could not stop them clashing. The oar of Oxford's No6, Alex Davidson, snapped clean in two. It cost Oxford the race, though Davidson continued to go through the motions of rowing, swinging his broken shaft forlornly back-and-forth, as Cambridge pulled away. Garrett dismissed Oxford's protests.

Cambridge won by four-and-a-quarter lengths. Only they and the folk who fill in the record books will worry about the time. The race took 48 minutes from start to finish. Oxford, once they stopped arguing and accepted the umpire's verdict about the clash, roused themselves to give three cheers for the winners.

The extraordinary circumstances of the race may mean Cambridge will be denied a little of the glory they are due, even though, for the first time in a long time, the Boat Race itself has a lion's share of attention.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

Post  eddie on Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:09 pm

^

All of which sheds an interesting light on the problems involved in policing the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics.

100% security just isn't possible in an event on that scale.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

Post  eddie on Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:19 pm

Ben Jennings on Trenton Oldfield and the Titanic Memorial Cruise

Following his protest that disrupted the Boat Race, how must Trenton Oldfield feel about the Balmoral's (*) voyage?

guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 April 2012 21.05 BST



(*) Luxury fancy-dress cruise to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Oxford-Cambridge boat race halted by guerilla toff

Post  Sponsored content Today at 4:43 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum