The Glittering Prize

Esther Momcilovic (President, CUWBC) and Maxie Scheske (President, OUWBC) with the trophy that each hope to hold aloft on 30 March.

Tim Koch writes:

As a postscript to yesterday’s post on the new trophy commissioned by sponsor Newton Investment Management for the Oxford-Cambridge Women’s Boat Race, I can report that yesterday morning it was officially unveiled and presented to both Boat Clubs and to the Boat Race Company.

A press release informs us:

The trophy is four sided and handmade in silver, each side the shape of a blade’s spoon with chased embossed patterns of flowing water. Imposed on each spoon is the bow of a boat cutting through the water. The main body is supported by four ebony columns representing the looms of four blades. Several of the chased details on the trophy are inlaid with pure gold. The base has four sides. Two of the sides represent the Clubs with symbolism chosen by themselves, a lion for Cambridge and a crown for Oxford; while the other two sides are chased with apples balanced on a scale, these are representative of the sponsor’s involvement and their belief in balance, equality and diversity in sport. On the underside there is a silver plate with records of all previous winners dating back to 1927, and from this year the new winners will be engraved visibly on the top of the trophy. The trophy weighs 5.5kgs and measures 50cms high.

From left to right: Rod Kelly, the designer of the trophy and one of the UK’s leading silversmiths, Helena Morissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management and campaigner for gender equality in business, Richard Gillespie, Chairman of The Boat Race Company Ltd, and Chris Dodd, writer on rowing and historian at the River and Rowing Museum. Chris is accepting the former prize for the Women’s Boat Race, a wooden shield, on behalf of the museum. Helena Morissey said that the shield looked like it was purchased at a heel bar and I though it resembled something awarded to a pub darts team.

Designer Rod Kelly shows the underside of the trophy where the winners of all the races held between 1927 and 2013 are recorded.

While Newton must be thanked for making this fine piece of work possible, their real contribution since 2011 has been to invest in coaching and equipment for OUWBC and CUWBC, ultimately to prepare them for 2015 and beyond when they will race on the Tideway on ‘Boat Race Day’ proper. The real importance of the new trophy is that it compares equally with the prize for the men’s race. The picture below was taken in 2013 and shows the shield then awarded to the winner of the women’s race next to the impressive trophy given to the men. The unavoidable implication was that the women’s contest was the poor relation of the two. The new trophy, however, sends out a very different message.

March 2013: article writer Tim puts on his ‘unimpressed face’ when comparing the two prizes.

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