Going for gold – Britain’s Champion Olympic Rowers are Celebrated at the
River & Rowing Museum.
- The Perfect Rower – 100 Years of Racing for Glory 31 March – 30 September 2012.
- A unique exhibition celebrates UK rowing’s Olympic successes
- Exhibition reveals the strict training regime of Olympic athletes and charts Team GB’s rowers preparations as they strive for glory at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- Features trophies, medals and artefacts from both previous London Olympic games in 1908 and 1948, and tells the unique stories of British rowing’s greatest heroes.
River & Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1BF. www.rrm.co.uk
Located just 20mins from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ rowing course at Dorney Lake, a remarkable new exhibition from the River & Rowing Museum will show what it takes to become the perfect rower and celebrate 100 years of rowing success.
From Sir Steve Redgrave to Bushell and Burnell, the gold medal-winning duo from the 1948 London Olympic Games, the history of British rowing is one of the noblest in the world. The River & Rowing Museum is celebrating the Sport’s rich history and exploring what it takes to become a champion Olympic rower.
The Perfect Rower – 100 years of racing for glory explores the gruelling training, strict nutrition and cutting edge equipment that modern Olympians use in their quest for gold-medal triumph. Visitors will also learn about the training regimes of past rowers competing at the previous two London Olympic games in 1908 and 1948, in a fascinating exhibition that charts the vast changes that have occurred in the sport over the past century.
The Museum has a close connection with the Olympic rowing heritage of Britain through its location on the banks of the Thames close to the famous Henley Royal Regatta course, where both the 1908 and 1948 Olympic rowing regattas were held.
Included in the their permanent collection is the boat in which Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth gold medal in 2000.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
- Tom Aggar’s gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Paralympics
- The gold medals of the 1948 rowing duo Burnell and Bushnell, who against all odds became Olympic champions – full details below.
- Hear memories from those who attended the 1948 Olympic Regatta in Henley where Great Britain’s Richard Burnell took the gold.
- Objects from the 1908 Olympics, including an illuminated oar awarded to the victorious British eight.
- The 1912 gold medal awarded to William Kinnear in the Single Scull in Stockholm.
Through this unique collection of sporting artefacts visitors can learn more about UK’s Olympic greats, past and present, such as Bushnell and Burnell, gold medal winners at Britain’s 1948 austerity Olympics whose unique story is the subject of a BBC film starring Matt Smith, to be broadcast later this year. Bushnell and Burnell, polar opposites in stature and background, were thrown together in the double sculls just six weeks before the Games in 1948. Despite their physical and cultural differences they won the gold at the Olympic regatta in Henley on the same day as fellow British rowers Ran Laurie and Jack Wilson won the coxless pairs, the last British Olympic rowing gold medals until Sir Steve Redgrave reignited the UK’s winning streak when he won the gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
This and many other fascinating Olympic stories are brought to life through a collection of first hand accounts, video footage and memorabilia. Another particularly interesting feature is the documentation of the evolution of rowing competitor’s eating habits – details below.
Evolution of Rowing Nutrition 1866 – 2012
1866 A typical day’s meals for an Oxford Cambridge Oarsman
Chops, steak, egg, bread and butter, two cups of tea
Bread and butter, choice of cold meat near the end of training, occasional watercress and glass of beer
Roast beef and mutton, chops or steaks, fowls and fish, potatoes and greens, light pudding occasionally, two glasses of beer, bread and butter and cress.
Two glasses of port with hard biscuits and one orange
Cup of tea, chocolate or gruel
1908 A typical day’s meals for an Olympic rower
Bowl of porridge made with cream, Sardines on toast, Tea and coffee
Rolled ox tongue, Kidney, Mashed potato, Asparagus, Pink rhubarb and clotted cream
Hot potato scones, Toast and butter, Madeira cake
Sirloin steak, Braised celery, Potatoes, Vanilla Souffle, Unlimited claret
Slice of cold goose, Glass of Madeira
2 egg flips a day were recommended. This is a beaten egg in a glass of milk with a small dash of whiskey.
2012 - A typical day’s meals for an Olympic rower - 6200 calories
Cereal with semi skimmed milk, Banana, 2 slices of toast with low fat spread and jam or honey, Orange juice
3 slices of toast, 2 poached eggs, 1 portion of mushrooms or tomatoes, Baked beans, Fruit squash
500g pasta, Tomato sauce and cheese, 150g chicken breast or fish, 3 raisin pancakes, 1 rice dessert
4 weetabix with semi skimmed milk, Fruit squash
200g fish or meat, 300g boiled new potatoes,150g broccoli, 150g carrot, Large fruit crumble, Custard, Fruit squash
Large bowl of cereal with semi skimmed milk
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Notes to Editors
The show will run from 31 March – 30 September 2012 in the Kirkham Gallery at the River and Rowing museum, Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1BF.
Exhibits include items on loan as well as the Museum own collection.
The River & Rowing Museum
The River & Rowing Museum is one of the UK's leading regional and sporting museums, attracting over 114,000 visitors a year. The Museum, an independent charity, also has a purpose built education centre visited by over 20,000 children and adults a year. The Museum provides superb value for money. Tickets are £8 for adults and £6 for children and provide free access for a year.
Designed by David Chipperfield and located on the banks of the River Thames in Henley on Thames, the Museum celebrates and explores four core themes through a wide variety of exhibitions and events across four galleries and special exhibitions:
- Rivers: Using the Thames as a starting point, the Museum explores the environmental, ecological and social impacts of water and rivers across the world.
- The historic riverside community of Henley on Thames: This historic town, home to the Henley Royal Regatta and host to the Rowing competition in the 1908 and 1948 Olympic Games, has a colourful history dating back to the stone age, all captured in a dedicated gallery explored through hugely popular temporary exhibitions.
- The international sport of rowing: One of the world’s most significant collections of rowing memorabilia, charting the sport from ancient beginnings to present day, is held at the Museum. The sport is also celebrated through temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
- The Wind in the Willows: hugely popular with children and families, this exhibition recreates the timeless E H Shepard illustrations from Kenneth Grahame's famous novel, taking visitors on a journey through the world famous riverside tale of Mr Toad and his friends.
Since opening in August 1998 the Museum has received numerous awards including the National Heritage/NPI Museum of the Year award and the Sandford Award For Heritage Education.
Location, opening and ticket information
- The River & Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1BF. Tel. 01491 415600.
- The Museum, terrace café and shop are open every day from 10am - 5.30pm in summer and 10am - 5pm in the winter
- Tickets give FREE admission for a whole year!
- Admission is just £8 for adults, £6 for children aged four and over, FREE for children aged three and under and £6 for senior citizens and concessions
- Free parking for visitors
- Members of the British Armed Forces and their families receive discounted tickets.
- The River & Rowing Museum is part of the Thames Valley Museums Group (TVMG) Family Friendly initiative - a scheme that brings together 29 Museums across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, to promote their popular appeal to the whole family
- Signatory to the Kids in Museums Manifesto
- Art Fund members are entitled to free admission
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