‘The Cods’ at the 1924 Paris Olympics
The Cods were the Murray Bridge rowing team that represented Australia in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. The team attached a stuffed Murray cod to the bow of their boat as their mascot. In these early days of the modern Olympic Games, the Olympics were open only to amateur sportspeople. The Murray Bridge team of rowers was made up of men from a number of professions: many worked on the railways in Murray Bridge, one was a storekeeper and another a postal worker.
After the Cods won selection for Olympics by beating challengers from other states on the Port River, the club had to undertake some novel fundraising to send its team to Paris. This included auctioning off a prize bull donated by pastoralist Sir Sidney Kidman. There were concerns about the team member’s ages – the average was 32 years old – and their unorthodox rowing style, but Australia still held high hopes for the crew’s performance at the games. The Cods headed off to the Olympics underfunded and with outdated equipment and training, and unfortunately, the Cods did not fare well in Paris: their accommodation was poor and several members of the team became ill. The Cods came in second place in their first heat and placed third in their second heat and did not qualify for the final race.
In his diary, ‘Bob’ Cummings details the journey to France, difficulties encountered, training, and competing at the Olympics. He finishes his record of competing at the Games:
Had hard luck. Did our best.
The family of RA 'Bob' Cummings, has given permission for the following items relating to the team and its participation in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris to be featured: