Olympians or not, more than 800 Cast Members on 75 teams paddled their hearts out in the recent Canoe Races of the World event–commonly referred to as C.R.O.W–in Magic Kingdom. Surrounding Tom Sawyer’s Island on the Rivers of America, the racers started near Country Bears Jamboree, passing by Big Thunder Mountain and Haunted Mansion, rounding the corner near Liberty Square’s Riverboat to the finish line. The annual two-week event began at Walt Disney World in 1973 after the tradition was started in Disneyland in 1963. C.R.O.W. is the only Cast event with similar races held in Disney Parks around the globe. “Tradition is very important to our company”, said Paige McCalmon, events and operations delivery manager at Walt Disney World. “It is a great team and camaraderie builder, and it is uniquely Disney.” To be a crew, eight to 10 people must be on the roster. Generally, the team name is derived from work location or area of expertise. The Grand Champion of C.R.O.W. 2012 was the Industrial Engineering Oars 3 team which took home the coveted title and bragging rights for the coming year. The Spirit Award was given to the “Tough Cookies” team for showing tremendous support for their fellow competitors and cheering them on from start to finish. Prior to the final race on July 20th, all teams were allowed two practice heats and a chance to attend a steering clinic.