Former Olympian James Marburg named Australian Boat Race ambassador

Olympic silver medallist and former Australian Boat Race competitor James Marburg has been named as ambassador for this year’s event, to be held on the Yarra River on Sunday 22 October.

Marburg, who won silver in the coxless four in Beijing in 2008 and reached the final in the men’s pair in London in 2012, was a five-time competitor at the Australian Boat Race.

He was part of the University of Melbourne’s men’s team that won in 2013 when he was a law student, and competed the following year as an alumnus.

Marburg is now a lawyer at firm Gilbert + Tobin but his passion for the Australian Boat Race sees him renew his involvement in the event in an off-water role.

“(The Boat Race) is something I’m really passionate about and want to see continue. It highlights the talent coming through both University of Melbourne and University of Sydney in terms of elite rowing,” Marburg says.

“I’m a big supporter of rowing and a big supporter of the University of Melbourne, and I think it’s important for anyone doing sport at that level to stick to an academic program as well.”

Marburg, 34, says sport was a great outlet to counterbalance both the pressures of studying when he was a student, and now work.

He has competed for Torquay in surfboat rowing since his retirement from elite rowing.

“(Rowing and studying) are two things that complement each other really well. Sport is a great escape,” he says.

“I see rowing as an example for what other sports can do, and Melbourne and Sydney as an example for what other universities can do.”

The Australian Boat Race takes place on the Yarra River, with the spectators’ area in front of Melbourne University Boat Club on Boathouse Drive.

The event features college races from 9am before the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney show down in both men’s and women’s races from 9.45am.

Crews for all boats will be announced soon.