Who is awarded a Blue?

Men and women may be awarded a Full Blue (or simply a Blue), Half-Blue or Second Team Colours for competing at the highest level of university sport, which must include being in a Varsity Match or Race against the University of Oxford.

A Full Blue is the highest honour that may be bestowed on a Cambridge sportsman or woman. In general, the Full Blue standard is approximately that of being successful at a national level of student competition, and the Half-Blue standard is that of being successful at county or regional level.

Awarding process

The criteria for awarding blues are different for men and women. Awards are made at the discretion of the Men’s and Women’s Blues Committees. The Men’s Blues Committee is formed from one representative of each of the Full Blue sports, and the women’s from one representative of each of the Full Blue and Half-Blue sports. Each committee meets frequently to discuss issues relating to Cambridge sport.

The awarding of a Full Blue often requires a person to fulfil a number of requirements in the same academic year, particularly in sports with Discretionary Full Blue status. In some sports with Full Blue status, the Varsity Match second team is awarded Second Team Colours. Each sport has specific criteria for each award.

Below, sports are listed by Blue status:

Full Blue

Association football, boxing, cricket, field hockey, golf, lawn tennis, rowing, rugby union, squash


Full Blue (some) / Half-Blue (rest) *

Athletics, basketball, cross country running, rugby league, swimming, ice hockey

*Most players in these sports are granted a Full Blue, others are granted a Half-Blue depending on their appearances in the first or second team.

Discretionary Full Blue

Archery, automobile racing, canoeing, cycling, dancesport, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, judo, powerlifting, ice hockey, karate, lightweight rowing, modern pentathlon, mountaineering, Olympic gymnastics, orienteering, para-athletics, para-rowing, real tennis, rifle shooting (small-bore and full-bore), rugby league, sailing, skiing, trampoline, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, yachting



American football, Australian rules football, cheerleading, chess, Eton and Rugby fives, gliding, handball, kendo, kickboxing, lacrosse, mixed lacrosse, mountain biking, pistol shooting, polo, rackets, clay pigeon shooting, table tennis, windsurfing

Historical Notes on the Cambridge Blue

Blues and the Blues Committee

Christopher Thorne (St Catharine’s, CUAC, 1955-61) and Secretary of the Blues Committee wrote a historical note in 1996 concerning the awarding of Blues and Half Blues entitled Blues and the Blues Committee, which you can find below.

Origins of  the colour blue

In the 2011 Easter edition of The Hawk, on the second page, a brief report was published entitled Rejoice! You might have been awarded a Pink! That article was a considerably abbreviated version of a paper researched and published jointly by Frank Grenfell (Trinity, 1962-65), former River Master of Eton College, and Dr John Marks (Girton, CUBC, CUCC, CUHC, 1947-50) former Honorary Treasurer of CUBC, a Director of The Hawks’ Company Ltd, and a Trustee of The Hawks’ Trust.

Deeply researched, and painstakingly assembled, the paper sheds new light on a story that has, over time, attained the stature of myth. As the paper points out we shall probably never know exactly what happened, but as far as it is possible to know, this paper must be the definitive version.

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