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The Rock-itt : January 2014
Bragging rights for the Awesome Foursome It was one of the great match races that water sport has seen in Australia and one that highlighted the true spirit of sport – extreme competitiveness and rivalry between elite athletes, accompanied by friendship and genuine respect for each other. At stake were not only bragging rights but a contest between two crews from different sports to decide which would become the Awesome Foursome. It was Australia’s best kayakers versus Australia’s best rowers in a specially arranged contest on the Yarra River, through the heart of Melbourne, on November 19. The kayakers were the K4 crew who covered themselves in glory with gold at the London Olympics in 2012. The rowers were the Oarsome Foursome, the fabulous coxless four with two Olympic golds and a silver, plus two world championships, who raised the profile of rowing in the public eye. Kayaking and rowing are quite different sports and it’s difficult to compare them. It’s a bit like comparing tennis and squash. Kayakers like to let everyone know that they go forward while rowers go backward. And that they look where they’re going but rowers don’t. One report said the argument about which crew was quicker started at the London Olympics “when each crew, brimful of alpha males, needled the other over who was the fastest. The banter never really extinguished with the Olympic flame.” According to Murray Stewart from Manly- Warringah Kayak Club, one of the K4 crew, it was the kayakers who threw down the gauntlet. “The actual catalyst was David Smith, from our crew, issuing a challenge on Twitter about six months ago. Now they’ve stepped up to the mark,” he said before the race. 500 metres was the distance chosen. “Unfortunately for us we’ve worked out that they would probably beat us over our 1000m,” said Stewart. “The more fair distance is 500m. It’ll be a good contest. “T here was a bit of banter going on between the rowers and ourselves. The rowers tend to have a higher profile within Australian sport than canoeists. To get one up on the rowers, there’ll definitely be bragging rights for a while.” Will Lockwood took up the challenge for the rowers. “We will take it to them. They had better be ready because we will be. Bragging rights are on the line and of course we want them. With eight elite athletes going against each other, you can bet it’s going to be taken seriously