8597833-PiecesofEight

Pieces of Eight – the story of the coach and crew who put Britain on the Olympic medal podium

British rowing crews won medals at every Olympic Games from 1908 to the London ‘Austerity Games’ of 1948.

Pieces of Eight is available from the River & Rowing Musem ISBN 978-0-9535571-9-6

 

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Then came catastrophic decline. With the honourable exception of a silver medal in 1964, a British crew rarely reached an Olympic final. Until the arrival of Bob Janousek in 1969.

A professional coach who spoke no English when he moved to London from Prague, Janousek took hold of British rowing by the scruff of the neck. He invited a dozen men to challenge all comers during the Montreal Olympiad.

“Rowing could be Britain’s success story this summer and in Pieces of Eight, Chris Dodd tells a colourful history of Britain’s revival in the 1970s under the coaching of the eccentric Czech Bob Janousek, who bluntly said on first meeting the squad: “You English are fat like pigs.”

— Patrick Kidd, The Times

“Pieces of Eight is a masterpiece.  If you want to know why rowing is one of Britain’s ‘Formula One’ Olympic sports you should ready this book.”

- Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association

Janousek’s first words to his squad were ‘Nobody expects you to win – you’re bloody English’. His feisty eight and his double scullers made their mark, and in 1976 they restored Britain to the Olympic medal podium in Montreal. The Brits had learned how to win, and they have been on the gold standard at every Olympic and World Championship regatta bar one since 1984.

“Chris Dodd’s entertaining and incisive book on the ‘Janousek years’ illustrates perfectly the inspirational leadership of a small group of movers and shakers in British rowing in the 1970s who put GB back on the international map.  As the GB Rowing Team steps up to its greatest challenge at the London Olympic Games, the seeds of its current international success are there for all to see in this excellent book.”

- David Tanner CBE, Performance Director, GB Rowing Team

 About the Author

Christopher Dodd began writing about rowing when Bob Janousek arrived in Britain. After thirty years as a journalist on the Guardian, he co-founded the River & Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames, where he is a historian and curator. His books include histories of Henley Regatta, the Boat Race, London Rowing Club and World Rowing. He contributes to newspapers and magazines and was the founding editor of Britain’s Regatta magazine and the International Rowing Federation’s World Rowing. He is a board member of Friends of Rowing History. Most of his rowing was done on the Bristol Avon and the Trent.

Pieces of Eight is available from the River & Rowing Musem ISBN 978-0-9535571-9-6

 

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