Yale Crew Put Their Oars in St. Petersburg’s Waters to Advance U.S.-Russian Relations
May 29-30, 2010
On May 29-30, the Yale University rowing team took part in Russia’s First Annual Presidential Regatta in St. Petersburg. More than 900 rowers from Russia, Poland, Estonia, Germany, Ukraine, Belorussia, as well as the United Kingdom (Cambridge University) and the United States (Yale University) took part in the event. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presided over the event attended by U.S. Consul General Sheila Gwaltney, U.K. Olympic Game-winning rower Steve Redgrave, and many other international luminaries. The two-day regatta attracted both St. Petersburg’s locals and guests who were eager to supports their fellow countrymen. The goal of this new competition is to re-establish the sport of rowing in Russia which is why the organizers wanted Yale University – home to America’s first college rowing club established in 1843 – to attend this inaugural event. While rowing became popular in Russia before the 1917 revolution, the Soviets later abandoned it as a “bourgeois” sport. With the help of major media coverage, this event once again demonstrated the importance of sports diplomacy in showing both Russians and Americans that there are a wealth of ties which bind our two countries closely together.