The Who2 Blog

Joe Burk: Rower

Sometimes it’s nice to remember the days when amateur athletes were top dogs.

The New York Times reports on Joe Burk, who “won honors on Thames and Pacific.” Dude rowed and played football at Penn, was a single-scull champ afterwards, then won the Navy Cross on a PT boat in World War II.

He was also a ““free thinker” who devised his own rowing style. He won twice at Henley, and was slated for the Helsinki Olympics of 1940 before the war caused their cancellation.

The Row2K website has a marvelous salute to Burk. It’s full of confounding notes on technique (Burk’s was “mainstream Schubschlag concurrent”) and tells how Burk won his second Henley title by smiling at a competitor at a crucial moment.

Burk’s final word on rowing: “You’ve got to do it because you really love it; there’s no other reason.”

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