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  1. ITV Report

Boat Race awash with drama

Swimmer disrupts the Boat Race by getting in the path of the boats Photo: PA
Dejected Oxford at the end of the race Credit: PA

Today was not the first time the Boat Race ground to a halt before either team had reached the finish line.

In 2001, umpire Rupert Obholzer brought it to a stop after repeated warnings to both crews to move apart and then a clash of blades.

The blade of Cambridge bowman Colin Swainson dislodged from his hand, but Oxford was initially oblivious to the umpire's red flag and rowed on.

When the race was restarted, Cambridge was victorious, but the decision to stop and then restart the race remained controversial.

There have also been six sinkings, with the result being determined by a sinking on three occasions.

Cambridge went under in 1859 and 1978 and Oxford in 1925.

In 1912, both boats sank and the race was rescheduled for the following day, while in 1951 Oxford sank and the race was rescheduled for two days later, when Cambridge won.

And despite the genteel nature of the university competition, there have also been other controversies over the years.

Both the 1959 and 1987 races saw rebellions by Oxford athletes.

In 1959, there was a bid to oust president Ronnie Howard and coach "Jumbo" Edwards. Cambridge refused to race any but the president's crew and, the rebellion quashed, Oxford went on to win the race.

The 1987 rebellion saw five American athletes in the Oxford squad refuse to row for coach Dan Topolski or president Donald Macdonald following disagreements over selection and training methods.

But although the Dark Blues had to rely on oarsmen from the reserve team to make up the numbers, the crew still soared over the finish line first that year.