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James Cracknell

Full name: James Edward Cracknell
Gender: Male
Height: 6-3.5 (192 cm)
Weight: 220 lbs (100 kg)
Born: May 5, 1972 in Sutton, Greater London, Great Britain
Affiliations: Leander Club, Henley-on-Thames (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Rowing

Related Olympians: Brother-in-law of Adrian Turner.

Medals: 2 Gold (2 Total)

Biography

James Cracknell's first success came as a member of the British coxless fours that won the World Junior Championships in 1990. After graduating with a degree in geography from Reading Universty Cracknell became a regular member of the British squad but his first Olympics was ruined by a bout of tonsillitis which made him pull out of the Atlanta Games. In the winter of 1996-97 he was chosen to partner multiple Olympic champions Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent in a new four with the long term aim of competing at the Sydney Olympics. The quartet went on to win all three subsequent world titles and in 2000 took the Olympic title thereby helping Redgrave gain his fifth successive Olympic gold. With the retirement of crewmates Redgrave and Tim Foster, Pinsent and Cracknell were reinvented as a pair and immediately met with success. In 2001 they won a decisive victory at the World Championships and the next year recorded a rare double by winning world titles at both coxed and coxless pairs in the same year. They were strong favourites for the Athens Olympics but a crushing defeat at the 2003 World Championships forced a radical rethink of their plans and they moved back into the four for the 2004 season. The crew struggled with illness and injury prior to Athens but in the Olympic final they held out for victory by a miniscule 0.08 seconds over a fast charging Canadian crew.

This race was the last of Cracknell's career and he soon moved into a career in the media. He became a television presenter and newspaper columnist as well as a fundraiser for various charities by competing in extreme physical challenges. He took part in the 2005-6 Atlantic Rowing Race, the London and New York Marathons, the Amundsen Race to the South Pole and the Sahara Desert based Marathon des Sables (the so-called "World's toughest race") as well as completing marathon cycling and canoeing events. In July 2010 Cracknell was attempting to run, cycle, swim and row from Los Angeles to New York in 16 days when he was found comatose on a desert highway near Winslow, Arizona, He had suffered a traumatic brain injury probably as a result of being side-swiped by the wing mirror of a passing petrol tanker. He has made a strong, if not complete, recovery from his injuries.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1996 Summer 24 Atlanta Rowing Men's Double Sculls Great Britain GBR AC (17)
2000 Summer 28 Sydney Rowing Men's Coxless Fours Great Britain GBR 1 Gold
2004 Summer 32 Athina Rowing Men's Coxless Fours Great Britain GBR 1 Gold

Men's Double Sculls

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Partner Phase Unit T
1996 Summer 24 Atlanta Rowing Great Britain GBR Bobby Thatcher Final Round C Final 6:51.41
1996 Summer 24 Atlanta Rowing Great Britain GBR Bobby Thatcher Round One Rerace Heat One 6:51.22

Men's Coxless Fours

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit T
2000 Summer 28 Sydney Rowing Great Britain GBR Final Round A Final 5:56.24
2000 Summer 28 Sydney Rowing Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Heat One 6:02.28
2000 Summer 28 Sydney Rowing Great Britain GBR Round One Heat One 6:01.58
2004 Summer 32 Athina Rowing Great Britain GBR Final Round A Final 6:06.98
2004 Summer 32 Athina Rowing Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Heat Two 5:50.44
2004 Summer 32 Athina Rowing Great Britain GBR Round One Heat Two 6:20.85
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