Foster-ing The Spread Of Great Ideas

Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster, James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent after winning the fours at the Sydney Games. Foster was small for an Olympic heavyweight but his excellent technique ensured him of a seat between Redgrave and Pinsent.
Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster, James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent after winning the fours at the Sydney Games. Foster was small for an Olympic heavyweight but his excellent technique ensured him of a seat between Redgrave and Pinsent.

21 November 2016

Tim Koch has been watching Tim Foster:

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a set of conferences run by the non-profit organisation, the Sapling Foundation. Sapling says that its goal is ‘to foster the spread of great ideas’. Its declared aim is

to provide a platform for the world’s smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries and most-inspiring teachers, so that millions of people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and a desire to help create a better future.

TED talks are held throughout North America, Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the events. More than 2,400 of them are available free on ted.com, and the combined viewing figures up to 2012 are over one billion. The talks, often in the form of storytelling, are on a wide range of topics. Speakers have a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Well-known past speakers include Bill Clinton, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates and Bono. More importantly in HTBS land, TED has also given a platform to Tim Foster, Gold Medalist in the GB Four at Sydney 2000.

Student Tim, not too grand to take his turn at marshalling the Oxford Summer Eights in 2014. I sprung a quick interview on him but he was happy to talk. I was not surprised when I found him to be a charming and self-effacing man, even by the relatively civilised standards of most elite rowers.
Student Tim, not too grand to take his turn at marshalling the Oxford Summer Eights in 2014. I sprung a quick interview on him but he was happy to talk. I was not surprised when I found him to be a charming and self-effacing man, even by the relatively civilised standards of most elite rowers.

Rowing is a sport blessed with a disproportionately large proportion of articulate participants. When a microphone or notepad is put in front of a gold medal winning rower, a significant majority can clearly impart relevant information, most producing complete sentences with a beginning, a middle and an end. Tim Foster is certainly one of these eloquent athletes and, in his TED talk, he describes what he and the others had to go through to cross the finish line 0.4 seconds ahead of the next crew.

Tim and James being interviewed at Henley in 2016.
Tim and James being interviewed at Henley in 2016.

Foster’s personal story contains varying proportions of self-confessed stupidity, bad luck, stubbornness and bravery. His TED audience were not rowers, and you do not have to be one to be hooked by an entertaining and informative talk. However, if you have ever pulled an oar in anger, you will be even more enthralled, so put aside 20 minutes and catch Gold Fever with Tim Foster.

One comment

  1. Clive Radley, rowing and boat building historian, writes: ‘Friends of mine, Peter and Diana Duggan, used to live in Twickenham years ago and they say that Tim Foster slept on their floor a number of times. Tim was friendly with their daughter, Glenda, before he started winning medals in rowing.

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