Historic boat race set for meet with modern twist

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Indy Lifestyle Online

While the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race can trace its ancestry to nearly two-hundred years ago in June of 1829, the inclusion of two personalities from the world of online social networking has added more than a dash of modernity to the 156th University Boat Race on Saturday April 4, broadcast worldwide via the BBC and other networks.

Olympians have featured in boat race teams of years gone by, and 2010 is no different, though with an added twist. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss studied at Harvard University and after winning US Rowing's National Championships several times between 2005 and 2007, they went on to compete at the 2008 Olympic Games, and are now both at Oxford's Said Business School.

Both are now just as well-known for a protracted legal action against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, for the Winklevoss twins are none other than the co-founders of ConnectU.com, a social networking service that they claim was ripped off by the famous Facebook website.

Squad members from both sides include medallists from the Commonwealth Rowing Championships, World Championships, US National Championships, World U23's, and World University Championships, so their sporting credentials are not in too much doubt - it's their performance on the day that counts.

The race has in the past three decades been dominated by one or another of the two University cities, with the dark navy of Oxford winning an astonishing nine of ten races in the 1980's and seven during the 2000's, while Cambridge's light blue was ascendant in the 90's, clinching seven themselves during that period.

However, despite taking honors in 2008 and 2009, Oxford have not managed more than two successive wins since their purple patch of 1987 - 1992, so spectators will be hoping for another tense and memorable contest over the course's 4 miles and 374 yards (6,779m) of long-distance rowing.

There are plenty of places to see the race in person: After a win in Europe on Thursday Fulham FC's next game is not until Sunday, so their Craven Cottage stadium is able to offer hospitality options to boat race fans in the Riverside Terrace on Saturday; there will be giant TV screens at Bishops Park in Fulham and at the Furnival Gardens in Hammersmith; and of course there are plenty of restaurants and pubs along the route of the course in which to dine during the build-up to the race's 4:30pm start.

Though ITV have handled broadcast duties for the previous five years, rights have returned to the BBC who are transmitting proceedings on BBC One, Radio 5 Live, and on the BBC Sport website. The event is also covered by theboatrace.org, BBC's America and World channels, the Eurosport network, Supersport in Africa, Spain's TVE, and RAI in Italy among others.

With the latest weather reports indicating that light winds, cloudy skies, and a top temperature of 11°c will cosset the race, spectators, commentators and crews alike will to see any obstacles of tradition and condition overcome through tactical nous, herculean effort, and the fruition of eight months' dedicated training.

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