GB's shining stars: The rowers
Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase
Monday 18 August 2008
Few sporting partnerships are as unlikely as that of Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter. And as the two hugged each other on the winning podium yesterday, having cruised to victory in the lightweight sculling event, hardly anyone outside the world of rowing could have guessed at their different paths to gold.
Hunter, like Steve Redgrave before him, is a man at odds with the elitist image of the discipline. Having grown up in London's East End, Hunter turned his back on the traditional sporting dream of those living within distant earshot of the Bow Bells – success on the pitch at Upton Park – preferring instead to turn to the Thames, where he spent seven years apprenticed as a waterman.
But rowing was to elevate Hunter to a different world – he would eventually replace James Cracknell as captain of the elite Leander club upstream at Henley.
It was here he met Zac Purchase, a public schoolboy more in tune with the boaters-and-blazers image of the sport but who developed a remarkable rapport with the older man.
Hunter and Purchase, who is in line to become Britain's latest sporting pin up, aresaid to never argue. When things get edgy, they sing, either something from Rocky or, if it's really bad, Village People.
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut