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World Masters Games begin in Brisbane and interest is shown in two of the oldest members of the Australian rowing contingent -

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PRUE LEWARNE: Today, the World Masters Games opened in Brisbane, and one of our best chances for gold comes from two of the oldest members of the Australian contingent: 87-year-old Spencer Grace

and 84-year-old Ted Bromley. You've heard of the 'Awesome Foursome', so now prepare for the 'Gruesome Twosome'. Dugald Maudsley reports.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: The river is Spencer Grace's stage and he treads it with the confidence of a man who's lived long enough to know exactly what he wants.

SPENCER GRACE: It's absolutely essential that we feel for the water, feel for it and accelerate through. You can't just draw it through, you must accelerate through.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: Every day for the last 60 years, he's come down here to coach and train, playing his role the way he's lived his life, intensely.

PETER MESSENGER: One day we were down the river here, and we were rowing back up, and this bloke came out onto his balcony with a megaphone and leans out and goes: Shut up you old bastard! People are trying to sleep! And Spencer turns around and looks at this guy and picks up his megaphone and turns it right up and goes: You can't tell me to shut up!

SPENCER GRACE: I don't talk about people behind their back. I talk about them to their face. If they don't like it, they don't like it, but they know what I'm thinking.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: Ted Bromley's day starts a little later than Spencer's. Although he's been Spencer's partner since 1946, these days he tries to spend more time with his wife, Angela, even though Spencer still insists he train with him once a week.

TED BROMLEY: I only come up here to row for old times' sake, and I know that Spencer would miss my company and I don't want to deprive him of that. But when he konks out, you know, in the next 10 years or so, well, I don't know that I'll continue rowing.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: Although Spencer Grace and Ted Bromley are cut from very different cloth, together they're a potent force. For nearly half a century, this odd couple have shared the same boat, not because they can't live without each other, but because they can't live without rowing.

The 1948 Olympics brought them together, but they haven't raced as a team since. Now there's a new challenge, one so tempting that Bromley and Grace are back in the water to race again.

The pot this time is the title of world champions in the coxless pair - their specialty. In training they row six Ks a session, but as usual each man is approaching the big race in his own inimitable way.

TED BROMLEY: I agreed to go on the basis that we would be the only crew in the race.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: That was the basis, was it?

TED BROMLEY: Well, I assumed there wouldn't be any others if we entered at 85 and over.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: So what's the motive?


TED BROMLEY: Well, I said I'd like to have a gold medal and I'd like to have a photograph taken of Spencer and myself as the world champion pair....

SPENCER GRACE: In the 88 .. over-85 class.

TED BROMLEY: Well, I'd put in very small letters .. I'd have 'World Champions' in big letters and very small letters '85 and over'.

SPENCER GRACE: My theory is that if you do it, do it properly, and if you're doing it properly it's no good doing it unless you win.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: Spencer and Ted rowed in the same boat, an eight, for the first time at the 1939 Henley Regatta in England. As they did for the rest of their career together, Ted rowed in front of Spencer.

SPENCER GRACE: Well, we combine well in the boat, I believe. Don't you think so, Ted?

TED BROMLEY: Oh, yes, yes.

SPENCER GRACE: We combine well and....

TED BROMLEY: We row the boat skilfully.

SPENCER GRACE: We move the boat well without having to use brute force.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: You're both so different. How have you stayed together for so long?

SPENCER GRACE: If we disagree, we agree to disagree. We don't get into a big hassle about it. I know it's no good with Ted and he knows it's no bloody good with me.

DUGALD MAUDSLEY: It was this ability to complement each other which brought Grace and Bromley to the London Olympics in 1948. Once again, the race was on the Henley. This footage is from Spencer's own camera, shot on the course in the days leading up to the race. But in the end, there was disappointment. Grace and Bromley got only as close to gold as the semi-finals. Except for one tilt two years later, their racing careers had ended; that is, until today.

TED BROMLEY: I don't have any plans to retire from my present program with Spencer, but I may retire on my laurels as the unbeaten world champion, if we win.

PRUE LEWARNE: Fabulous, world champions.