Igor Boraska ’95
Year Inducted: 2011
One of the most successful oarsmen in Brown men’s rowing history, Igor Boraska ’95 was a champion on both the collegiate and international levels. His international success began at age 18 when he won a silver medal at the 1988 Junior World Championships while rowing for the Yugoslavia Junior National Team. Due to ethnic divides that occurred in the Balkans, his international career was cut short and he enrolled at the University of Split, in Croatia. In 1992, head coach Steve Gladstone convinced Boraska to transfer to Brown and his arrival coincided with the beginning of the greatest men’s rowing dynasty in Brown history.
In 1993, Boraska's varsity eight swept through its dual meet season and placed first at the Eastern Sprints Regatta, claiming the Ivy League Trophy in the process and helping Bruno win the Rowe Cup for team points. At the IRA, the Bear’s varsity eight again finished first, helping the team to second place in the team competition. The varsity eight went on to win the National Championship in Cincinnati, completing college crew's first ever sweep of the three major collegiate regattas, the Triple Crown. This was Brown's first national team championship since those won by the baseball team in the 1890's. The season was topped-off by a trip to the Henley Royal Regatta, where the varsity won the Ladies' Challenge Plate.
During his senior year, Boraska helped the Bears go undefeated in dual races before sweeping the Sprints and capturing the Rowe Cup and Ivy title again. The varsity eight repeated as IRA champions and claimed their second straight national championship title. All the crews at both the freshman and varsity level were unbeaten in '94 in every single dual race and championship regatta, making for an incredible undefeated Marston Boathouse (48 wins, 0 losses in dual meets), an unprecedented achievement in Brown rowing history.
Following graduation, Boraska represented his new country, Croatia, in international competition. The versatile oarsman competed annually at the World Championships in pairs, fours, or eights, earning one gold, two silver, and one bronze medals. His gold medal in coxed pairs at the '94 World Championships was a first ever for Croatia, and his world record time still stands today. Croatia soon honored Igor with a commemorative postage stamp.
All told, Boraska competed for ten Croatian National Teams, "retiring" after 2008. In addition, he has rowed in three Summer Olympic Games ('96, '00, and '04), winning a bronze medal in the Croatian eight at Sydney in '00. Boraska also has the distinction of being one of 16 elite athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, having been a member of the Croatian four man bobsleigh at Salt Lake City in '02.
Igor Boraska has not only been a rowing competitor, but also a committed advocate for his sport. He was elected to the International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission as well as being a representative to the International Federation of Rowing Associations' Athletes' Commission. Something of a hero in Croatia, Igor has served as Deputy Mayor of Split, where his biography has recently been published.