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For the rugby union player see Tom James

Thomas James MBE (born 11 March 1984 in Cardiffmarker) is a Welsh rower, Olympic Champion, and victorious Cambridge Blue.



James was educated at the King's School, Chestermarker, where he took up the sport of rowing. He went up to Trinity Hall, Cambridgemarker in 2002, obtaining his undergraduate degree in engineering in 2007.

The Boat Race

Whilst at Cambridge Universitymarker, James was a member of Cambridge University Boat Club and took part in The Boat Race four times in five years between 2003 and 2007 (taking a year off to train for the 2004 Summer Olympics). He was elected president of the Cambridge University Boat Club for the 2006-07 academic year.

James' time at Cambridge coincided with the most exciting Boat Race in recent memory, as Oxford won the 4¼ mile race by just a foot in 2003. To add to the tension, for the first time in history two sets of brothers competed against each other. David Livingston (Oxford) raced against his older brother James Livingston, and a last minute call up for Ben Smith (who joined the Cambridge Blue Boat from Goldie hours before the race after the original crew member was injured) meant that he competed against his brother Matthew, the Oxford president.

Having concentrated his efforts on the Olympics in 2004, James returned to Cambridge in 2005. Both universities had extremely strong intakes that year, with Cambridge boasting several world champions and the Oxford crew including Olympic silver medalist Barney Williams. Oxford won the epic contest by 2 lengths in a time of 16 minutes 42 seconds. In 2006, the weather was particularly bad, and Cambridge lost again, this time by 5 lengths.

After three years of disappointment, James returned to the boat race one final time in 2007, this time as President of CUBC. In a race where Cambridge were strong favourites based on the team members' individual successes, the light blues showed their class by staying in touch while Oxford had the advantage, and pushing on with tidier rowing from the halfway point. They rowed on to win by a length and a quarter, finally providing James with a victory at the fourth attempt.

International rowing career

Having won a bronze medal in 2001 in one of the most spectacular GB Junior eights and silver in 2002 at the Junior World Rowing Championships, James won his first senior international vest in 2003. He stroked the Great Britain Eight, which won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Milanmarker.

Following this success, James decided that training for the Olympics and studying for his engineering degree were incompatible. He took a year off from his studies at Cambridge, and trained with the Leander Clubmarker in Henley-on-Thamesmarker. The build up to the Olympics for the GB Men's Rowing Squad was somewhat disrupted due to illness, injury and variable form. James fell ill the night before the Heat in the Olympic competition - a devastating blow and whilst he returned for the repechage, the crew failed to make the final.

After taking a break from international rowing, James returned to the British Team in 2006, forming a pair with Oxford rival Colin Smith. The duo raced to a surprise silver behind reigning world champions New Zealand at the Lucerne World Cup regatta to earn selection for the world championships at Eton's Dorney Lakemarker, making the final and finishing sixth.

In Summer 2007 he was subbed in for Alex Partridge in the flagship British rowing boat, the coxless four, which won Henley Royal Regatta in July 2007 and then took silver seven days later in the Lucerne World Cup Regatta.

He was then selected in the GB coxed four for the world championships in Munich, but was promoted to the bow seat of the eight when the original incumbent fell ill on the morning of the heats. The crew made the final, securing GB qualification for the Beijing Olympics, and took the bronze behind Canada and Germany.

Reunited with Colin Smith in a pair, James finished second at the GB final trials regatta in March, 2008, to put himself well on course for a place at his second Olympics. He was then selected for the GB coxless four along with Andy Triggs-Hodge, Steve Williams and Peter Reed..

After a difficult early season, with both James and Triggs-Hodge picking up injuries, the four raced together for the first time in Poznan in the final World Cup event of the season, finishing third. The GB four then dominated their heats and semi finals at the Olympics Beijing. In the final, however, the Australian four led for most of the way. Only a dramatic push by the British boat in the closing stages made the difference; they won the nail-biting final to become gold medallists in a time of 6 minutes 6.57 seconds, beating the Australian four by 1.28 seconds.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.



  • 2004 Athensmarker - 9th, Eight (stroke)
  • 2008 Beijing = GOLD, Coxless four (bow)

World Championships

  • 2007 Munichmarker - BRONZE, Eight (bow)
  • 2006 Etonmarker - 6th, Coxless Pair (stroke)
  • 2003 Milanmarker - BRONZE, Eight (stroke)

Junior World Championships

  • 2002 - SILVER,
  • 2001 Duisburgmarker - BRONZE, Eight (six)

World Cups

  • 2007 Lucernemarker - SILVER, Coxless four (3)
  • 2006 Lucernemarker - SILVER, Coxless Pair (stroke)

  • 2004 Lucernemarker - 6th, Eight (stroke)
  • 2004 Munichmarker - 4th, Eight (stroke)
  • 2004 Poznańmarker - 5th, Eight (stroke)

  • 2003 Milanmarker - 3rd, Eight (stroke)
  • 2003 Lucernemarker - 1st, Eight (stroke)
  • 2003 Munichmarker - 3rd, Eight (stroke)

The Boat Race

  • 2007 - 5 - WON
  • 2006 - 7 - LOST
  • 2005 - 7 - LOST
  • 2003 - 6 - LOST


  1. BBC Link

External links

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