Belfast Telegraph

Cracknell: life after Boat Race win will be hard

 

Home first: James Cracknell celebrates his win yesterday
Home first: James Cracknell celebrates his win yesterday

By Nick Purewal

James Cracknell anticipates a heavy bump back down to "real life" after becoming the oldest-ever Boat Race winner aged 46.

The double Olympic gold medal winner powered Cambridge to a third win in four years in the 165th Boat Race, then conceded the void that follows will prove "empty".

Cracknell suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2010 when fracturing his skull in a cycling accident in Arizona only to battle back to full health, while just last week he confirmed the end of his marriage to Beverley Turner.

Cracknell's former Olympics crew mate Matthew Pinsent believes no one will ever match this feat, though warned his old friend to beware the nagging question of what comes next.

"This last two weeks has been something I've had to focus on," said Cracknell. "To be honest, tomorrow's going to be hard, it's going to be empty. And that's when real life starts."

Eight years older than the previous record holder, Cambridge's 1992 cox Andy Probert, Cracknell produced a stunning feat that Pinsent believes will remain forever unmatched.

"This defies explanation, it is an outstanding achievement," said Pinsent. "In the history of the Boat Race, no one will ever do that again; absolutely no way.

"In that hospital in Phoenix, if you'd said he would win the Boat Race, at that point he was doing well to walk again.

"What more can you do? Rowing across the Atlantic, that's no longer good enough now.

"Going to the South Pole's old hat. The Marathon Des Sables? He's been there, done that."

Cambridge won the Women's Boat Race for the third year in a row, beating Oxford by five lengths.

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