‘Redgrave four’ to remember Holmes

Sir Steve Redgrave and the crew that won Olympic gold in 1984 will remember their crew-mate, west Londoner Andy Holmes, when they take part in a row-past at Henley Royal Regatta on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of their victory.

Holmes [pictured above with Redgrave] died in 2010 after contracting Weil’s disease. His place in the crew on Saturday will be taken by their coach, 76-year-old Mike Spracklen, who now coaches the Russian national eight and has flown in from Moscow for the occasion.

“I would like to remember Andy as I row down the course,” said Martin Cross who, along with Redgrave, Holmes, Richard Budgett and cox Adrian Ellison, won Great Britain’s first Olympic gold for 36 years in Los Angeles.

“We thought about doing the 25th [anniversary] but thought it was a bit too soon, then Andy Holmes died, which was a lesson for all of us: you can’t wait to do these things because you never know what life brings.

“We never rowed as a crew after that ’84 race. We came off the water and that was it. This will be the closest we’ll get to it. I’ve rowed with ‘Budge’ and Steve since and Adrian coxes me at Molesey.”

The row-past will be a chance for the Henley crowd to see Redgrave back in action. He went on to win five Olympic golds and is expected to take over as regatta chairman next year.

“At the time it was Britain’s first Olympic rowing gold for more than 40 years,” said Cross, another west Londoner.

“But with hindsight it was Redgrave’s first of five Olympic golds and the start of the process of Britain being good at rowing, which it has never stopped.”

Martin Gough writes the weekly rowing blog The Rowlup – http://www.therowlup.com – out every Friday

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