TRIUMPHANT Cambridge rower Mike Thorp is desperate for a haircut after vowing to grow his locks until he avenged last’s year defeat in the boat race.
The ex-King’s School pupil was in the beaten Blue boat in 2011 but his crew came back all the stronger last Saturday in one of the most memorable Oxbridge clashes.
Long-haired Mike, 21, from Lache Lane, has not been to the barber since defeat a year ago.
The delighted oarsman said: “It started out as laziness on my part then it turned into a novelty. The lads said I to wait a few more months and now I can finally do it.
“I’m going to get it done as soon as possible for my girlfriend’s sake, she wants it cut ASAP,” added Mike, whose loved one Rachel is also a former King’s pupil.
Mike is proud of the way his crew stayed focused despite a protest swimmer causing a restart, a clash of oars which saw Oxford lose a blade and the collapse of Dr Alex Woods from the rival team at the finish.
The final year history undergraduate said: “In the week leading up to the race you try to go through in your mind the things that could go wrong.
“You could perhaps have expected one of those things to happen but not three of those things on the same day!”
Mike, whose parents Mark and Louise watched from the banks of the Thames, said celebrations had to be muted until it became clear Dr Alex Woods was out of danger but hinted at what happened with reference to the official race sponsor being Bollinger Champagne.
“Once we found out he was OK we celebrated as a team rather than in public,” added Mike, who intends to return to Cambridge to study management next year.
Mike, who has an 18-year-old sister, Catherine, is among an elite dozen from King’s to compete in the boat race including Olympian Tom James who won gold in Beijing.
Victory must be all the sweeter when you consider the gruelling daily training regime of a 6.30am start on the water, followed by lectures from 9am until 1pm, then more training until 5.30pm.
In rowing terms, Mike is a relative spring chicken and would be interested to see where the sport takes him as most rowers don’t typically peak until their late 20s. As he points out, Sir Steve Redgrave was 38 when he won his fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in Sydney.