Tall story of Bri­tish Olympic row­ing hope­ful

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BYGRAHAMMORRISON

IN THE ab­sence of steeplechaser Jo Ankier, 6ft 9in Ox­ford-based rower Josh West is the only Jew com­pet­ing for Team GB in Bei­jing

Orig­i­nally from Santa Fe, USA, West, 31, started row­ing aged 17 as a fresher at Yale. While there, tak­ing ge­ol­ogy and in­ter­na­tional stud­ies, he com­peted in the Har­vard/Yale race.

How­ever, he de­cided to con­tinue his stud­ies at Cam­bridge, and went on to take part in four Ox­ford/Cam­bridge boat races, be­ing on the win­ning crew in 1999 and 2001.

He also won the pres­ti­gious Ladies Plate at Hen­ley in 1999 and in 2001 suf­fi­ciently im­pressed se­nior GB se­lec­tors to be paired with Rick Dunn for the World Cham­pi­onships, where they fin­ished fifth.

At the 2002 World Cham­pi­onships, a move to the 4s as a late re­place­ment for the in­jured Ed Coode gave him a taste of real suc­cess as the crew took sil­ver, fin­ish­ing just 0.2 sec­onds be­hind the Ger­mans.

In the Athens Olympics that year he was se­lected for the 8s, who ended a dis­ap­point­ing ninth af­ter be­ing af­fected by ill­ness in the semi-fi­nals.

The win­ter of 2005 was de­voted to his doc­tor­ate at Cam­bridge but he con- tin­ued to train, fin­ish­ing 3rd in the pairs in the GB se­nior tri­als.

West re­mained in the pairs for the World Cup events in Eton, Mu­nich and Lucerne be­fore a re­turn to the 8s for a fourth place fin­ish in the World Cham­pi­onships in Ja­pan.

An­other se­lec­tion for the 8s in 2006 gave him 5th in the 2006 worlds at Eton. West, who is the tallest mem­ber of the Team GB squad, now holds a re­search fel­low­ship in geo­chem­istry at Ox­ford Univer­sity.

But his dream is to help main­tain the legacy of Sir Steve Red­grave, who won gold medals at five con­sec­u­tive Olympics from 1984 to 2000.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Oar-some record: Josh West

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