My Life in Boats, Fast and Slow

My Life in Boats, Fast and Slow

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Andrew Larkin has recently published a memoir, My life in Boats, fast and slow. Andrew Larkin was the first of the baby boomers. The book is a coming of age story about a quest, his dream of going to the Olympics rowing. He rowed for the legendary Harry Parker, head crew coach at Harvard for over 50 years. They won gold in the Pan-American games in 1967. In 1968 they went to the Olympics, held in Mexico City, making the finals of the Olympics, coming in sixth. This book details their triumphs and struggles. Some members of the Harvard crew supported at the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which had been supported by Martin Luther King, Jr. The project’s goal was to give voice to the plight of black athletes in the United States in a non-violent fashion. Perhaps the iconic event of the games was the photo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos standing on the victory stand after the 200 m race; they stood with raised fists with black gloves and lowered heads. The book provides the background story of this protest and the minor role the crew had in it. There is discussion of rowing, the history of the Olympics, the issues of amateurism vs professionalism, and the issues of race in sports. These issues remain relevant today.

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