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The Story of the American Underdog Rowers Who Triumphed In the 1936 Olympics


Later this month, some of the top rowers in the country will descend on Wisconsin for the annual Milwaukee River Challenge.

The challenge will draw throngs of curious onlookers, but back in 1936, rowing was very much in the public consciousness. It was that year that an underdog group of American rowers took on the world’s best at the Olympics in Berlin, and took home a gold medal.

That story – of the college rowers from the University of Washington – is told in Daniel James Brown’s best-selling book The Boys in the Boat, a book that’s been favorably compared to Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit.

Daniel James Brown joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich in the studio recently to tell the story. 

Audrey Nowakowski hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2014.