The Wonder Crew
The Untold Story of a Coach, Navy Rowing, and Olympic Immortality
By Susan Saint Sing
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312367039, 304pp.)
Publication Date: July 8, 2008
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THE WONDER CREW is the fascinating story of how the salty coach of the Annapolis crew team, Coach Richard Glendon, seized the sport of rowing first from the Ivy League schools and then the imposing British with a new style both uniquely American and very much his own. He took a group of young midshipmen with humble origins and dominated a sport once the domain of the privileged.
After stunning the Ivy Leagues in race after race, the US Naval Academy team won a shot at the Olympics. Their task was nearly impossible: for hundreds of years, the British Navy ruled the world and their supremacy of the seas naturally made them dominant in the sport of rowing. With the hopes of a nation, Navy went into the heart of Europe and in thrilling fashion defeated the heavily favored Brits to win the gold medal in 1920. With Glendon's new American style, the US won Gold for forty straight years, the longest winning streak in any single sport in Olympic history.
Rich in history, with brave characters, American ingenuity, and dramatic training and competition, THE WONDER CREW is the first comprehensive account of the 1920 Olympic Navy crew team and their inspirational coach who forged the dramatic story of their quest for Olympic gold.
SUSAN SAINT SING, has both competed in and coached rowing at the college and national level, and is an authority on rowing history. She was a member of the 1993 US World Rowing Team and lives in Stuart, Florida.
“If you don’t know what happened during the 1920 Olympics on a Belgian canal—or even if you do—let The Wonder Crew transport you there. Susan Saint Sing will guide you expertly on a true journey from imitation to innovation, from individuality into teamwork, from war toward peace.” —Dorothy Ours, author of MAN ‘O WAR: A Legend Like Lightning
"Olympic rowing has a long and illustrious history. THE WONDER CREW is the intriguing story of the 1920 Olympic Games and a battle between the Royal Navy of the British Empire and the US Navy contested through the sport of rowing. Come down to the dock and watch as this great regatta unfolds!" —Anita DeFrantz, member of the International Olympic Committee and first African American woman to win a medal in rowing
"This is a rare, good book for it succeeds in its appeal to those who love competitive, athletic history that is well written. The victory of the Wonder Crew is arguably the greatest 'upset' of the early twentieth century. The story is tantalizing - it's a darn good read." —Prof. John Lucas, Olympic Historian
"A wonderful historical account of the great 1920 US Olympic Eight. How appropriate that this Naval Academy Crew started the longest winning streak in Olympic History. Our 2008 Men's Eight will read this book on the way to Beijing." —Mike Teti, 2008 US Olympic Rowing Coach
“You don’t have to love rowing—or even know anything about it—to be captivated by this amazing account of Navy’s 1920 crew. Like Chariots of Fire, Miracle on Ice and Seabiscuit, The Wonder Crew has all the ingredients of a great sports story—courage, commitment, and the triumph of underdogs who believed in themselves.”—Knight Kiplinger, editor in chief, The Kiplinger Letter.