A 1964 Vesper Cox-Toss

In this newspaper clipping from The Sunday Herald Tribune, July 12, 1964 (Section 4 Sports, page 1) about the Olympic Rowing Trials, Vesper oarsmen are dunking their cox Róbert Zimonyi in the drink after beating Harvard. Rowing historian Bill Lanouette can be seen second from left in the press boat in the background.

20 May 2020

Rowing historian Bill Lanouette, who enjoys HTBS and, these days, especially Tom Weil’s TOPOR series, remembers a cox-toss that he witnessed in 1964 at the Olympic Rowing Trials at Orchard Beach Lagoon, N.Y., which he was covering for Herald Tribune Radio Network. Vesper BC was rowing against Harvard to see which crew was going to represent USA in the eights at the Tokyo Olympics. Vesper won the race and in the photograph above, in one of the newspapers which also covered the race, both the coxswain Róbert Zimonyi and one of the Vesper oarsmen are hitting the drink.

Interestingly, Zimonyi was born in Hungary and had competed as a coxswain for Hungary both at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games. He coxed the Hungarian coxed pair to a bronze medal at the 1952 Games.

The Vesper eight took a gold medal at the 1964 Games.

Bill says that the article in the Herald Tribune, penned by Irving T. Marsh, is very nicely written.

Here follows some images of the long article:


  1. Thank you for the posting.
    I started rowing in January 1965 when I discovered that my new school played football in the Spring Term, and in June I was invited by some of the older gentlemen at Auriol Rowing Club in Hammersmith to go to Henley for the day, on the Sunday and join their family picnics. I did not know what or where Henley was, but I was taken, and thoroughly well looked after. I witnessed the final of the Grand, between Vesper and Ratzeburg, a ferocious test of skill, athleticism, and iron will-power, this ignited a passion for the sport in this, then, 17 year old. 55 years later I am still involved in the sport!! I still remember being hugely impressed by this athletic duel, I remember it well, standing about 100m from the start, awe-struck and fired-up by the excitement. I didn’t know who was in the launch!!
    Paul Lukas

  2. I was twelve years old at those Orchard Beach Trials. I watched my older brother row in the Harvard eight that lost to Vesper. I was heartbroken for him and frankly, myself. Had they won my parents planned to take us all to Tokyo to watch. As it was he did compete at Tokyo in the 4+ for the US and was the youngest oarsman in the US team. Two years later I started rowing under a coach who had been (coincidentally) the youngest member of the American gold medal winning eight forty years earlier at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

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