The Red Rose Crew
The shape of rowing changed forever in 1976. A new gender was added to the Olympic
Games programme. At the Montreal Olympic Games in that year, women competed in
rowing for the first time.
The year before, a group of women in the
United States had pushed the boundaries of
sport in their country and pressed the limits in
rowing. In 1975 a women’s eight was selected to
represent the United States at the World Rowing
Championships in Nottingham, Great Britain. The
United States had never medalled in the women’s
eight. In fact, at the time, very few women rowed
and virtually none rowed competitively. This
eight was known as the Red Rose Crew. They
were the first American women’s eight to medal
at the World Rowing Championships.
that hung on the wall of her parent’s bedroom.
Her father was a rower. Graves started out doing
figure skating and ballet lessons for several years.
Her heroine was Peggy Fleming, an Olympic
Champion figure skater. “I did not now about
females being athletes,” says Graves.
Graves’ height, at over six feet tall, did not make
her ideal for either figure skating or ballet. “I never
made it into toe shoes,” she admits. Her time in
these pursuits came to an end.
Carie Graves, stroke of the Red
Author of the book, The Red Rose Crew, A true
story of women, winning and the water (2000),
Daniel Boyne documented the journey of these
nine women and their coach, the legendary
Harvard University coach Harry Parker.
In 1971 Graves was hitchhiking around Europe,
wondering what to do with her life. After three
months, her strong work ethic got the better
of her and she decided to head home, go to
university and join the fledgling women’s rowing
Centre stage in the Red Rose Crew was eight seat
Carie Graves. Graves grew up looking at an oar
Graves considers the mood of the time played
a big part in her decision to take up rowing. >