On Sunday, the Oxford women's varsity eight beat Cambridge by 12 seconds, or four lengths, over 1 ¼ miles, while three or four thousand people, mostly families, watched from the banks in Henley-on-Thames, England.
Next year's race will be contested on a different course, in front of 300,000 screaming fans and broadcast globally by the BBC to nearly 20 million more. For the first time the women's event will be on equal footing with the men's Boat Race, traditionally run a week later on a stretch of the Thames known as the Tideway and to much greater fanfare.
The change was dictated by Newton, a UK-based investment company, and its parent, BNY Mellon. Newton had been sponsoring the women's race since 2010, but in '12 the sponsorship for the more prestigious men's race became available. The company was informed that it could lose the women's race if a new men's sponsor wanted both events. At the urging of Newton CEO Helena Morrissey, BNY Mellon did some research and came back with a decision: We'll sponsor both, but we want to unite the men's and women's events; same day, same course.
"For young men, it's the modern age they've grown up in," says BNY Mellon CEO Curtis Arledge. "They were struggling to understand why it wouldn't be this way." As were the rest of us.
THEY SAID IT
"We're Belmont, man."
Belmont sophomore guard, reacting to Clemson students who stormed the court after the favored Tigers beat the Bruins 73--68 in the NIT quarterfinals.
RICHARD HEATHCOTE/GETTY IMAGES (ROWING)
MARK HUMPHREY/AP (BRADSHAW)