Australia’s most famous rowing team, the ‘Oarsome Foursome’, first raced together in 1990 on Lake Barrington, Tasmania. Little did they know at the time that they would go on to become household names during the early 1990s.
The Oarsome Foursome crew of Andrew Cooper, Nick Green, Mike McKay and James Tomkins (coached by fellow Sport Australia Hall of Fame Member Noel Donaldson) – represented Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Cooper, Green and McKay formed the nucleolus of the crew and were reigning Coxless Four World Champions, along with Sam Patten.
The crew were shaky during the 1992 lead-up regattas, struggling to hold off the likes of America, the Netherlands and Slovakia and, although they remained unbeaten through their heat and semi-final, glory at the Olympics was still no certainty.
After a seat swap between Cooper and Green, plus the implementation of short, cleaver-like blades and a month-long intensive training camp, the team regained that world-beating form and headed into the final calm, confident and with a sense of well-founded dominance as they claimed a famous gold for Australia! This was their first gold and it put Australian rowing on the map.
This momentous win kicked off a golden era for rowing in Australia, particularly in the Coxless Fours event, with members of the crew remaining dominant at the Olympics right through to the end of 2012, consistently featuring among medal winners.
Olympic Games, Barcelona
Andrew Cooper, Michael McKay, Nicholas Green, James Tomkins