The women’s Boat Race image that captures the modern race
For all the images shot in the 2018 Boat Race campaign, Thea Zabell lying back into the lap of Paula Wesselmann at the end of the women’s race was the one that stood out. The Sunday Telegraph, one of the few remaining print titles to commission any rowing journalism, ran it on their front page.
Thea Zabell and Paula Wesselmann of CUWBC at the end of the Boat Race (Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty)
This year the press afterglow of the Boat Race spoke to success and athleticism with the women’s race making it to the front page for all the right reasons. Contrast that with last year’s Boat Race weekend which was dominated by Oxford’s Rebecca Esselstein, who did what all rowers will dread, caught a crab on the start – only for her, this was on live broadcast.
The image of Zabell also speaks to the multi-national nature of the event. Zabell herself was raised and educated in Spain; Wesselmann is German and rowed for Clemson University, South Carolina prior to undertaking her MPhil at Cambridge. The image was taken for Agence France-Presse, a Paris based news agency, by a young Spanish photographer, Daniel Leal-Olivas.
The Cambridge women are rowing in a German-made Empacher boat using Concept2 Skinny blades made in Vermont, USA. Their clothing carries the logos of an American bank, BNY Mellon and it’s London subsidiary, Newton Investment Management and of Mizuno, a Japanese sportswear brand.
So if a picture speaks a thousand words, the headlines formed from this image would speak of success, achievement, female athleticism, teamwork, care, realising your dreams, abundance, carefree, joy and confidence. Whilst the BBC tried to paint a picture of British Pathé nostalgia in its uncomfortable presentation of the women’s crews, the modern women’s Boat Race could not be more different.
WEROW will be carrying an interview with Thea Zabell later this week.