James Tomkins (rower)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Tomkins
2008 Australian Olympic team James Tomkins - Sarah Ewart.jpg
Personal information
Born (1965-08-19) 19 August 1965 (age 52)[1]
Sydney, New South Wales
Residence St.Kilda, Melbourne
Occupation Financial Services
Height 200 cm (6 ft 7 in)
Weight 98 kg (15 st 6 lb; 216 lb)
Club Mercantile
Updated on 7 December 2016.

James Bruce Tomkins, OAM (born 19 August 1965) is an Australian rower, seven-time World Champion and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. He is Australia's most awarded oarsman, having made appearances at six Olympic games (for three gold and one bronze medal); eleven World Championships (for seven world titles including one in each of the five sweep oar events); four Rowing World Cups (for two titles) and eighteen state representative King's Cup appearances - the Australian blue riband men's VIII event, (for fifteen victories, ten as stroke). Tomkins is one of only five Australian athletes and four rowers worldwide to compete at six Olympics.

Early life[edit]

Persuaded to try out rowing by a Carey Baptist Grammar School coach, the lanky James Tomkins quickly developed a liking for the sport winning numerous events while competing for the school's rowing team.[citation needed]


In 1985, Tomkins first made the Australian national team as stroke of the men's VIII for the World Rowing Championships at Hazewinkel Belgium. The Australian finished in ninth place. In 1986, the Australian VIII stroked by Steve Evans won a gold medal at the World Rowing Championships in Nottingham, England with Tomkins rowing in the six seat. That same year at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Tomkins won gold in the Australian men's VIII.

In 1987 at the Worlds in Copenhagen, Denmark Tomkins was again the six seat when the men's VIII finished in fourth place and at the 1988 Summer Olympics, the Australian eight finished fourth with Tomkins at six.

In 1990, Tomkins, with Nick Green, Samuel Patten and Mike McKay, began racing the coxless four. Their success was immediate. They won the 1990 and 1991 World Championships. With Andrew Cooper replacing Samuel Patten, they followed up with a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The crew's success gained them the nickname Oarsome Foursome and lifted the profile of rowing in Australia. The crew repeated its gold medal performance at the 1996 Summer Olympics, this time with Drew Ginn replacing Andrew Cooper.

At the 1998 World Championships, the Oarsome Foursome raced and won the World Championship as a coxed four with Brett Hayman. Tomkins, Green and Hayman also took the world title at that same regatta in the pair with coxswain. In 1999, the boat would go on to try out, but lose the 1999 Australian selection trials in a coxless four. Tomkins and Drew Ginn decided to switch to the coxless pairs and won the 1999 World Championships. This win made Tomkins the first man to win a gold medal at the World Championships in each of the five sweep rowing events.

Tomkins and Ginn had planned to row the pair at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but while in Europe preparing for the games, a severe back injury requiring surgery sidelined Ginn. On short notice, Tomkins teamed with team alternate Matthew Long, (who had to switch from stroke side to bow side) and they raced a surprising third at the Lucerne World Cup race. Tomkins and Long were selected to represent Australia, and at the Olympics, they finished third behind France and the United States, just 1.3 seconds out of first place.

Returning to the coxless pairs in 2002, Ginn and Tomkins beat the heavily favoured British crew of Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell in a world cup race before finishing a close fourth at the World Championships. In 2003, Ginn and Tomkins reversed the prior years results winning the World Championship, with Pinsent and Cracknell getting fourth. In 2004, Pinsent and Cracknell moved to the coxless four to better their chances for a medal. Ginn and Tomkins would go on to win the coxless pairs at the 2004 Summer Olympics, leading at every mark, beating Croatia by 2 seconds, with South Africa claiming the bronze.

Tomkins was selected in the men's eight for the 2007 Rowing World Championships in Munich, placing a disappointing 4th. He competed in his sixth Olympic Games at Beijing following the disqualification of the Russian Federation boat as a result of a doping scandal. Tomkins was the Australian flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony. Tomkins and his crew finished last in the men's Eight A Final and 6th overall at the Beijing Games.

He is one of four athletes to compete in rowing at six Olympics, along with Romanian Elisabeta Oleniuc Lipă in 2004, Canadian cox Lesley Thompson, and Estonian Jüri Jaanson.


James Tomkins was announced as the 2008 Victorian Father of the Year by the Father's Day Council of Victoria Inc. In 2010 he was inducted as a member of the Rowing Victoria Hall of Fame. In 2012 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.[2]

In 2012 he was elected to the IOC Athletes' Commission. He will serve as an IOC member for eight years.[3]

James Tomkins also helped to build the Carey/Yarra Yarra Boat Sheds on the Yarra River in Melbourne. In the Carey Boat Sheds, there is an eight (rowing boat) named after him.


Olympic Games[edit]

  • 2008 - 6th, Eight
  • 2004 - Gold, Coxless Pair (with Drew Ginn)
  • 2000 - Bronze, Coxless Pair (with Matthew Long)
  • 1996 - Gold, Coxless Four (with Nick Green, Drew Ginn, Mike McKay)
  • 1992 - Gold, Coxless Four (with Nick Green, Andrew Cooper, Mike McKay)
  • 1988 - 5th, Eight

World championships[edit]

FISA World Cups[edit]

  • 2008 - 4th, Eight, World Cup II
  • 2008 - 1st, Eight, World Cup I
  • 2007 - 6th, Eight, World Cup III
  • 2007 - 10th, Eight, World Cup II
  • 2002 - 1st, Coxless Pair, World Cup II

The Kings Cup[edit]

  • 2008- 2nd, New South Wales (1st)
  • 2007- 1st
  • 2004- 2nd, New South Wales (1st)
  • 2003- 1st
  • 2002- 1st
  • 2000- 1st
  • 1999- 2nd, Western Australia (1st)
  • 1998- 1st
  • 1996- 1st
  • 1995- 1st
  • 1994- 1st
  • 1992- 1st
  • 1991- 1st
  • 1990- 1st
  • 1988- 1st
  • 1987- 1st
  • 1986- 1st
  • 1985- 1st

Commonwealth Games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James Tomkins". rowingaustralia.com.au. Rowing Australia. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Hall of Fame
  3. ^ Results of the IOC Athletes' Commission Election

External links[edit]