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guidanceADAPTIVEguidanceADAPTIVEguidance Colin Bullock, a founding member of Oundle Town Rowing Club, reviews a new guide to adaptive rowing. In 2003, Colin was named Coach of the Year for his success in bringing adaptive rowing to Oundle
Adaptive Rowing: A Guide details how best to cater for adaptive athletes. Written by Simon Goodey, the GB Rowing Team’s classification coordinator and member of the FISA Adaptive Rowing Commission, the 132-paged guide provides a great manual on how to provide the best possible coaching infrastructure for adaptive rowing. When we started adaptive rowing at Oundle Town RC, I would have loved to have had a copy of Adaptive Rowing: A Guide. The section on Equipment & Regulations would have been the most useful as it is the most difficult aspect when it comes to catering for adaptive athletes. Also the information on available boats, oar lengths and riggers would have been extremely useful when we were trying to make informed purchasing decisions. There is an impressive amount of information in the guide on classification, equipment and regulations, medical conditions and their coaching considerations, and prevention of injuries.
Also included is a useful glossary of terms that gives you an informed breakdown of specific disabilities. Although this makes for some detailed reading, an understanding of the athletes’ limitations is vital and the glossaries enable you to make sense of some complex medical language. A slight criticism is that the practical examples are sometimes lost in the mass of text. For example, the advice on tactile markers on oars for visually impaired rowers come right at the end of a chapter. There are also moments where the guide moves away from an average club setting and into a slightly more fanciful one. One section encourages the use of an indoor rowing tank – how many clubs have one of those?!? Oundle certainly don’t. Despite these minor problems, the book does provide a thorough and detailed list of all the practical difficulties of catering for adaptive rowers. Once you know what you are facing, it is easier to include adaptive rowing. Our club started with poor access, no suitable changing rooms or toilets and no knowledge of the types of disability, yet we managed to get adaptive rowers out on the water safely. So please don’t be daunted by the complexity of the guide. It is a valuable reference book for dipping into when required rather than one to read through page by page. Its aim is to enable individuals with a disability to have fun on the water safely.
Adaptive Rowing: A Guide is available from British Rowing (020 8237 6787), priced £29.99 inc p&p.
Pieces of eight
“Nobody expects you to win – you’re English,” were the first words that Bob Janousek told his new British squad in 1974. In Pieces of Eight, Christopher Dodd relates the story of how the Czech coach spun British fortunes around, paving the way for today’s international success BY RICHARD KNIGHT
Richard ‘Dick’ Knight represented Great Britain at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, despite having only one working lung. He was involved in setting up a new system of Olympic selection in the 1960s.
e author in 1970s photo by Patrick White
Christopher Dodd began writing about rowing when Bob Janousek arrived in Britain. After thirty years as a journalist on the Guardian, he co-founded the River & Rowing Museum at Henley-onames, where he is a historian and curator. His books include histories of Henley Regatta, the Boat Race, London Rowing Club and World Rowing. He contributes to newspapers and magazines and was the founding editor of Britain’s Regatta magazine and the International Rowing Federation’s World Rowing. He served on FISA’s media commission for ten years, and is a board member of Friends of Rowing History. Most of his rowing was done on the Bristol Avon and the Trent.
This is a masterful book, full of detail and excitement. Christopher Dodd knows his stuff and clearly demonstrates his passion and love of the topic – namely British rowing’s resurgence under its first national coach, Bob Janousek. Bob created a national squad from a difficult start in 1969. Although still amateur and with no personal sponsorship it took on the cream of the world in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and came away with two silver medals, one in the flagship eights’ event and one in the double sculls. This achievement cannot be overestimated, especially when you consider his starting point. In the late 1950s British rowing was the laughing stock of the international scene and it was felt that a change had to be made. In order to do this there was a consensus that the ARA had to rethink its attitude and organisation towards top level sport. To do this they turned to a number of high profile individuals – and, eventually, to Bob Janousek. Chris paints a picture of a competent coach who managed to inspire his men into dedicating their rowing lives into doing whatever he asked of them. The personal exchanges of the oarsmen are fascinating and revealing, coming over as completely authentic and human.
e author in 2011 photo by Robert Treharne-Jones
Pieces of Eight is a masterpiece. If you want to know why rowing is one of Britain’s ‘Formula One’ Olympic sports you should read this book. — Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association A book that captures the mood, personalities and tensions of the rowing scene in the last throes of the pre-Redgrave era brilliantly. It is loaded with details and secrets that are new to me. — Sir Matthew Pinsent, four-times Olympic champion is is the story of the crews that turned the fortunes of British rowing. It is a story that needed telling, and only Chris Dodd could tell it with such insight. — Sir George Cox, president of Leander Club I recommend this book as a very enjoyable narrative of one man’s ability to enter a strange new environment and become a respected, even loved, leader who was able to achieve what many thought was impossible – to form a cohesive unit from diﬀerent and often temperamental individuals which could take on the world. — Bill Mitchell, vice-president, ames Tradesmen Rowing Club In 2010 and 2011 the British rowing team was number one in the world. Forty years ago no British crew even reached a final, and the average finishing position was tenth. To understand how the transformation began, 'Pieces of Eight’ is essential reading. — Mike Sweeney, chairman of Henley Royal Regatta and chairman of the GB selection board 1973-1976 Chris Dodd's entertaining and incisive book on the 'Janousek years' illustrates perfectly the inspirational leadership of a small group of movers and shakers in British rowing in the 1970s who put GB back on the international map. As the GB Rowing Team steps up to its greatest challenge at the London Olympic Games, the seeds of its current international success are there for all to see in this excellent book. — David Tanner CBE, Performance Director, GB Rowing Team www.rrm.co.uk
E C E S O F
G H T Bob Janousek and his
Ol y m pi a n s
Am e m oirby
C h r i s t o p h e r
D o d d
A minor point, but perhaps Chris could have said more about the movement in the fifties that started to put British rowing on course before the Janousek era. Our initiative in creating a national squad with a national non-club based headquarters had an indirect result in the appointment of Bob Janousek as national coach. That aside, this book is packed with minutiae that every oarsman will love. Reading like a novel, Pieces of Eight relates the story of 14 plucky Englishmen, led by a dedicated Czech coach who crafted them into a world-beating team. Definitely worth a read!
PIECES OF EIGHT Bob Janousek and his Olympians
A memoir by Christopher Dodd
Pieces of Eight is available from the River & Rowing Museum at www.rrm.co.uk, priced £20 plus p&p.
Bob Janousek photo by Patrick White
British rowing crews won medals in every Olympic Games from 1908 to the London ‘Austerity Games’ of 1948. en came catastrophic decline. With the honourable exception of a silver medal in 1964, a British crew rarely reached an Olympic final. Until, that is, the arrival of Bob Janousek.
A professional coach who spoke no English when he came to London from Prague, Janousek took hold of British rowing by the scruﬀ of the neck. He invited a dozen men to challenge all comers during the Montreal Olympiad.
Janousek’s first words to his squad were ‘Nobody expects you to win — you’re bloody English’. In 1974 his feisty eight and his double scullers made their mark, and in 1976 they restored Britain to the Olympic medal podium in Montreal. e Brits had learned how to win, and they have been on the gold standard at every Olympic and World Championship regatta bar one since 1984.
Pieces of Eight is the story of the revolution that fired Britain’s assault on the peaks of international rowing, told by the oarsmen and the coach who made it happen and the newspapermen who reported its progress. e book also reveals how Janousek and his squad broke the power of the private navies and pulled down rowing’s social barriers — two phenomena that hampered the sport’s progress for a hundred years.
14 | Rowing & Regatta | May 2012