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Memoir: The one that got away

November sees one of Britain’s biggest rowing races, celebrating a sport in which we lead the world. But this is the true story of how one oarsman was denied his dream of Olympic gold

By Josh Raymond   November 2010

A few kilometres to the north of Munich there is a man-made lake. Its banks are treeless and greyed by the sun, and the water is strangely clear. A concrete grandstand runs part way down one side, and at the northeastern end are wooden hangars: an inaccurate suggestion of aircraft. Aerial photographs give a sense of inversion, of a sky-blue landing strip slashed diagonally over fields. The lake is Oberschleissheim. It was built for the rowing and canoeing events at the Munich Olympic Games of 1972 and has hosted international competitions ever since.

In the spring of 2000 Bobby Thatcher…

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