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By pmallory - Posted on 20 June 2012

4 May 2012

Colin Porter

Yesterday I got a photo from one of my personal heroes, Colin Porter, revolutionary 1950s British rower, author and coach, a man of great imagination and curiosity, a valued friend and fellow member of the family of rowers worldwide. Here he is on the bank of the Swan River in Perth, Australia reading The Sport of Rowing.

And here is a bit of what he has recently written to me:

Dear Peter

The Collector Edition of your magnum opus arrived safe and sound, and I am already into Volume I.

I write to thank you for Chapter 78 of your important history. While this focuses on Jumbo Edwards and myself, it includes comments from others that are of great interest along with rare photographs, some of which I had never seen. I have taken the liberty of passing copies on to a couple of old friends who would, I know, be as fascinated as I was.

More particularly I must congratulate you on what must be one of the greatest works ever written on a sport, and on the extent of your research. When you first wrote to me with a few pages of British rowing of 50-60 years ago, I was amazed that anyone living in a different country would face the challege of recounting an era long gone.

There have been many books on rowing - I wrote one in 1958 - but this must stand alone because of its extent and thoroughness. Apart from the numerous photographs and quotations, the books are remarkable for their readability. This is no small feat, as histories can be somewhat dry.

In conclusion, my congratulations on a truly remarkable work which leaves me in a state of awe. Thank you for your courtesy and contribution to the finest of sports.

Yours sincerely

Colin

Dewitt Whitman

I have just learned that Dewitt Whitman, great friend to everone in the Seattle and the American rowing families, received a traumatic brain injury while skiing about three weeks ago. I am sure you all join me in wishing the very best to Dewitt and Kathy in their coming months of recovery and rehabilitation. You may track Dewitt's progress and leave your get-well wishes at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dewittwhitman.

Coming in the wake of Philadelphian Fred Duling's recent accident, this is another reminder to all of us that not every 500m piece in our lives is rowed on flat water. I trust that it is comforting for Dewitt to know that he has a wealth of teammates pulling with him and for him.