Fonds - Frank Read fonds

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Frank Read fonds

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  • 1932-1986 (Creation)
    Read, Frank, d. 1994

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32.5 cm of textual records
145 photographs

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Biographical history

In the early 1930s, Frank Read was an accomplished oarsman with the Vancouver Rowing Club. Following a back injury that ended his rowing career he went into the hotel industry. In late 1949, Read agreed to coach the University of British Columbia rowing team which, at that time, began a formal co-operation with the Vancouver Rowing Club. In recognition of both institutions, it was decided to call these new members "V.R.C./U.B.C." oarsmen. Despite very limited resources for UBC's fledgling rowing program, Read focussed on the importance of training and conditioning and instilling in his athletes dedication to the sport. His intensive training program soon produced results. Read's eight-oared crew represented Canada at the British Empire Games in 1954. There the team won Canada's first ever gold medal for the eights. The following year the students returned to England to compete against the worlds best at the Hedley Regatta where they scored an upset victory over the world champion Russians. In 1956 Read lead his rowing teams to the Melbourne Olympics where the coxless four won a gold medal and the eights came a very close second to capture a silver medal. Following his retirement from coaching which lasted from 1957 to 1960, Read returned to coach the rowing team. At the Rome Olympics of that year, his eights finished second earning Canada's only medal at the games. Following the Olympics, Read once again retired, bringing to a close an important era in this country's rowing history. John Carver in "The Vancouver Rowing Club: A History, 1886-1980" offered the following assessment of Frank Read's accomplishments. "Starting with almost nothing, operating on the most meagre budgets, he took his crews to the top international competition and, incidentally put himself among the top rowing coaches in the world. He had the drive, and the patience to stand the rugged twice daily grind in all kinds of weather; he demanded discipline and condition, and got them, and he had the knowledge and knew how to impart it to his crews. He will say to himself that it is the horses in the boats that win races and of course he is right. But no sport demands more coaching than crew rowing and Read supplied it beyond measure." Frank Read died in Vancouver in 1994.

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The fonds consists of scrapbooks, clippings, photographs, correspondence, speeches, publications and awards that chronicle Reads career as a rower and, more particularly as a rowing coach.

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BCAUL control number: UBCARCH-923

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