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Daniel Topolski (04 June1945 – 21 February 2015) Aged 69

Rowing world mourns the death of Topolski
Oxford coaching great Dan Topolski will be remembered for his will to win and the Boat Race will not be the same without him

NO ONE would be more annoyed than Dan Topolski himself that he did not quite live long enough to watch the 2015 Boat Race and, of course, to witness the inevitable triumph of another Oxford crew. The Boat Race will not be the same without the man who set the standard for coaching and organisation as the finishing coach of Oxford through an unprecedented era of dark blue domination between 1973 and 1987 and who later became the voice of calm analysis for the BBC at one of the great sporting occasions of the year. But, with Dan Topolski’s death last night at the age of 69 after a long illness, it is not just the Boat Race which will be bereft of one of its stars more.

© Times Newspapers Ltd.  Andrew Longmore Published: 22 February 2015

Dan Topolski105


True BlueSad news of the death of Daniel Topolski

A legendary Oxford coach and rower, author, commentator and journalist, Dan Topolski died on Saturday at the age of 69 following a period of ill health.

Tributes have been paid from across the world of rowing, for a man who led Oxford to 10 straight wins in the Boat Race between 1976 and 1985.

In all, Topolski coached Oxford for 15 editions of the Boat Race, winning 12, and coached GB crews at two Olympic Games. He rowed in two Boat Races for Oxford - winning in 1967 and losing in 1968 – and represented GB five times between 1969 and 1978.

Topolski’s award-winning account of the infamous 1987 race, True Blue, would later be made into a classic rowing film starring Dominic West and Bill more.

© British Rowing

Former Oxford rowing coach, author and BBC Sport rowing commentator Daniel Topolski has died aged 69.

Dan Topolski BBCA former Oxford blue himself, he established his reputation as Oxford's finishing coach for the Boat Race between 1973 and 1987, before joining the BBC.

He died on Saturday following a lengthy period of ill health.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave said: "Rowing will miss him dearly and so will I."

Topolski guided Oxford through 15 races as coach, winning 12 including 10 in a row between 1976 and 1985.

His leadership lay the foundations for a staggering run of success which continued after his departure and, by 1992, had enabled Oxford to triumph in 16 out of the previous 17 races.

His most famous victory was in 1987 when Oxford overcame the walk out of five American internationals just six weeks before the event to beat Cambridge by four lengths.

He later wrote a book about that incredible triumph, called 'True Blue, The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny,' which won the 1990 William Hill Sports book of the year award.

A film was later made of the book - True Blue - and shown at the 1996 Royal Command more.



Daniel Topolski, rowing coach - obituary - Telegraph

Daniel Topolski, former Oxford coach and Observer writer, dies aged 69 - The Guardian‎