Former Olympic rowers secure 2021 Boat Race crypto-sponsorship deal

The 2021 Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities will be sponsored by cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, a firm founded by two former Olympic Rowers.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Finals and in the 2010 Blue Boat for the University of Oxford, founded Gemini in 2014.

As a result of the agreement, the 166th men’s and 75th women’s contests will be known as the ‘Gemini Boat Race,’ with the crypto-firm operating as principal partner of the event.

Additionally, the new partners will cooperate to develop rowing by engaging young people with limited access to the sport through The Gemini Boat Race Bursary Scheme.

The £75,000 scheme will provide instruction and education to disadvantaged students via the Fulham Reach Boat Club, a registered charity that aims to remove the financial barriers that often prevent many from participating.

“Our experience in rowing taught us that whether you are building yourself as an athlete or building a startup, the power of big dreams together with conviction and perseverance cannot be underestimated,” remarked Cameron Winklevoss, who serves as President of Gemini.

“We are excited to support this historic event to go ahead safely and widen access to the sport through The Gemini Boat Race Bursary Scheme. Our hope for the Bursary Scheme is to enable more young people to explore the skills that rowing develops in and outside of the boat, including focus, confidence and teamwork.”

The race has taken place annually since 1829, and will be conducted on the River Great Ouse at Ely on 4 April – the first time the event has taken place outside of London since 1944 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Last year’s edition, like many other sporting contests, was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Coverage will be provided by the BBC, which will ‘leverage the power of technology to enable fans to enjoy the event at home and comply with all restrictions’.

“We are delighted to welcome Gemini as the Principal Partner of the Boat Race,” added Robert Gillespie, Chairman of the Boat Race Company.

“The fact that a global and innovative FinTech company is joining as a Boat Race partner at this time demonstrates a high level of trust and confidence in the careful planning and work that BRCL and local stakeholders have put in over the past few months to stage an event that is fully compliant with COVID safety regulations and therefore closed to the public.”

Cambridge is the current champion, having secured its 84th title in 2019. Oxford, in comparison, has achieved 80 victories to date, haiving last won the race in 2017.

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