The River Rhone Raft Race – 3

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.


Eric LaClair won the race three times in a row between 2008 – 2010 and remembers clearly the entire race in all three years. “Yes, we did a lot of paddling and so our time was half the time we did when we won in 2000. In 2000, none of us paddled at all, we just floated along and then when we were about to hit something we jabbed our oars at whatever it was so that it went away from us. That worked even for bridges. We then laughed a lot and ate another ten aspirins. In 1998, we hit a bridge somewhere, I can’t remember where, somewhere near Lyons, and we smashed around a quarter of the bottles. We sank near the bank and tried to get more wine from the local village, but they only had 54 bottles and accepted just cash, so we stopped there and forgot about the race.”

The 1986 race was particularly memorable because no team completed the course due to flooding on the Rhone, which meant that the teams couldn’t pass safely under the main bridge in Valence. One after another the teams smashed into the bridge and sank causing a major headache for the local lifeguards.

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