James Tomkins OAM
World Rowing Champion
One of Australia’s greatest rowers, James Tomkins is the only rower in history to win world championship titles in every sweep oar event.
James Tomkins together with Mike McKay, Nick Green and Andrew Cooper took the rowing world by storm in the early 1990’s earning the ‘Oarsome’ name and reputation with convincing victories in the 1990 and 1991 World Championships and the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
Following Barcelona, Andrew Cooper retired from the Oarsome Foursome and Drew Ginn took his place in the boat. Despite taking a break from competitive rowing for nearly three years the new Foursome successfully defended their Olympic title in Atlanta 1996.
In March 1997, the Foursome announced their intention to row in front of a home crowd at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, aiming to win a third successive Olympic title.
In 1998 the Oarsome Foursome returned to international competition and rowed as a coxed four, winning gold at the World Championships in Cologne, heralding the champion crew’s return. At the same regatta, James Tomkins teamed up with fellow crew member Nick Green to win gold in the coxed pairs.
In 1999, James Tomkins and Drew Ginn travelled to Canada for the World Championships and won gold in the coxless pairs. Tragically the dynamic duo was split up when Ginn was forced to abandon his Olympic campaign after succumbing to a back injury.
At Sydney 2000, James Tomkins teamed up with fellow Victorian Matthew Long to row in the coxless pair and went on to win his third consecutive medal at an Olympic Games.
After finishing fourth with Long at the 2002 World Championships in Seville, James Tomkins teamed up once again with Ginn for the coxless pairs for the 2003 titles in Milan. James’ reputation as one of the sport’s greats was further enhanced as he and Ginn rowed to victory, giving James his ninth World Championships gold.
James Tomkins made his fifth Olympic Games in Athens a memorable one, as he and Ginn rowed to victory in the coxless pairs – Australia’s sole Gold of the Athens regatta. In the process, James won his third Olympic Gold medal and elevated himself further into the company of our sporting greats.
In 1997, James Tomkins was honored with an Order of Australia (OAM). In 1999 he was named Rower of the Year and in 2003 was awarded Crew of the Year.