Head of the Charles Notebook

Sure to be split decision here

By John Powers
Globe Staff / October 24, 2010

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Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the identical twins who rowed together in the Beijing Olympics and are central figures in “The Social Network,’’ will be racing against each other in this afternoon’s men’s championship eights.

“We sort of became guns for hire,’’ said Tyler, who will pull a starboard oar for the German under-23 entry (i.e. Deutscher Ruderverband) while Cameron rows port for Old Glory Boat Club, a collection of former US teamers.

While they bypassed the World Championships, which begin at the end of the month in New Zealand, the Connecticut brothers soon will be back in national camp prepping for a return trip to the Games.

“Our goal is London 2012,’’ said Cameron, who with Tyler made the 2008 final in their first international competition as a pair. “We’re sort of open to which boat happens to make sense.’’

Meanwhile, the twins have been attracting attention for what’s become known as the “Facebook Movie,’’ the tale of their battle with then-fellow Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg, whom they claimed stole their idea for what became a multi-billion-dollar Internet phenomenon.

“We went to a screening in New York and when we came out a lot of people said, ‘Congratulations,’ ’’ said Cameron. “We said, ‘No, no, we’re not the actors.’ ’’

He and Tyler give high marks to the accuracy of the film account and their solo portrayal by Armie Hammer. They also said that the Henley rowing scene, filmed during regatta tea time, was so realistic that it fooled the spectators.

“People thought it was an actual race,’’ said Cameron. “They were cheering for Harvard.’’

Lucky seven?
Though the showdown between blood rivals Cal-Berkeley and Washington will be the centerpiece of the men’s championship eight race, keep an eye on Harvard. While the Crimson, who usually enter an eclectic boating, haven’t won the big race since 1977, they’re using all seven returning members of last year’s varsity that won both the Eastern Sprints and Henley’s Ladies’ Plate. And even though US Rowing is sending a second-level eight, the collegians will be wary. “They’ll be ready,’’ said Washington coach Michael Callahan, whose crew won two years ago. “There’s still a strong international group in there.’’ . . . Cal coach Mike Teti, who directed the US Olympic boat to its breakthrough victory in Athens in 2004, pulled an oar yesterday with the 87 Gold Rowing Club entry that finished fifth in the men’s master eights. “I used to train so I could win medals,’’ said Teti, whose 1987 eight won the world title. “Now, I exercise so I can eat.’’

Less degree of difficulty
Last year’s spectacularly bad conditions included snow squalls on Sunday. Yesterday, a chilly westerly provided a diminishing headwind for most of the course, but the sun seemed genial. “Obviously this is a complete reversal of fortunes from last year’s dangerously hypothermic conditions,’’ said race executive director Fred Schoch, who will compete in a quad race today. “In the summer, we row in temperatures up to 90 degrees, so when it’s in the 60s like this, it’s just about perfect.’’ . . . The harbor seal spotted in the Charles during the week was no factor after being caught and rerouted. “We are tremendously relieved that the seal returned to the salty brine just in time,’’ said Schoch. “We were really concerned that the seal had skipped registration and never paid his entry fee. He seemed pretty fast, too.’’ A few people took the possible hazard seriously, according to Schoch. “I got calls asking what we were going to do, so someone was clearly worried,’’ he said.

Globe correspondent Tony Chamberlain contributed to this report.