Johnny Davidson


Year of Birth 2000

Hometown Toronto

Nationality British/Canadian

College St Catherine’s College

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 2nd

What are you studying? PPE

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? The most interesting part of my course is learning about the various viewpoints on issues and their substantial reasonings. Coming to Oxford and doing the course has significantly broadened my worldview and made me more conscientious. I plan to do a Masters in Economics, possibly looking at consulting.

Future ambitions? Row in the Boat Race at some point, finish across the line first as well for that matter.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? Generally by adapting to the structure provided by the rowing schedule. This means fitting in work between sessions and afterwards. This requires diligence in planning and work. This can be especially trying when a social life comes into play, and this often has to be weighed against the other two as priorities.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing at 13. There was a strong history of rowing in my family, with my mother winning medals at IRAs in America, and my grandfather Alistair going to the Commonwealth Games with Thames Rowing Club. I was never good at any other sport, so rowing appealed as something into which I could sink my time and hopefully observe my own improvement, regardless of initial skill level. Also, I was slightly rotund and hoped to be more athletic.

What was your first club? Winchester College Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? The boys in the bus; the atmosphere of the rowers in the boathouse and on the water is near to indescribable. Lots of our time together isn’t spent purely rowing, but instead talking, discussing and advising each other. Especially this year, with a diminished university social life, being able to see my friends for hours each day has been fantastic.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I’ve rowed for around six years. My biggest achievement has been winning School’s Head in the 1st VIII category.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No.

Your favourite race so far? Henley Royal 2019. We lost but it was a memorable race and showed the character of those in the boat.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I listen to ‘Losing It’ by Fisher on repeat, as well as a selection of a few other songs, such as ‘No Church in the Wild’. This means I am generally less talkative than others.

Your sporting idol? Terry Fox.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Kobe Bryant, for the Mamba Mentality.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Reach 210 bpm or die trying.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I’m a big fan of Soundcloud remixes.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? Generally, we play some music very loud in the minibus and call each other as well as supporting each other on the ergs. There’s nothing better than having your friends shouting you through the last 500m of an erg.