New Zealand Rows to Gold
With easy access to water in New Zealand, rowing is a popular sport. This will be even more so after the recent success of rowers at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Many of you will be familiar with the children’s rhyme:
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
While this sounds like an idyllic situation, it is not the way New Zealanders prefer to row. This was obvious during the last two days of the Olympic rowing regatta in London, when NZ rowers won two gold medals with impressive performances by Mahe Drysdale in the Men’s Single Skulls and the pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond in the Men’s Pairs.
Mahe Drysdale, Olympic gold medal rower from New Zealand
I know little about rowing, but enjoy it as a spectator sport. I love the way the boats, if that’s what they are called, are propelled with such skill, speed and determination through the water by the rowers. At the London 2012 Olympics the TV coverage has been superb, with shots from all angles enabling viewers to see what is happening from both close up and distant shots. We probably all see different images on our screens, depending on what our various TV crews and commentators are focusing on. But I’m sure the effect is the same everywhere. I love being able to see the arm strength and determined faces as the rowers edge their boats further along the course.
Even with my limited knowledge of rowing, it was evident throughout the 2012 London Olympic rowing regatta that the Kiwi rowers from NZ prefer to finish from behind. In most cases, except perhaps that of Mahe Drysdale, they chose to start with a steady pace, settling into rhythm, coming home with a strong finish. This can be heart stopping for spectators, who are desperately willing their favoured crew to inch past their opponents and take the finish line first.
Eton College rowing course, venue of 2012 Olympic rowing regatta
Rowing is a sport growing in popularity in New Zealand. This will be even more so now after the Olympic gold success of these New Zealand national sporting heroes. For those wondering about references to previous performances by rowers at Karapiro, this is a small township and lake near Cambridge New Zealand, and was the venue of the 2010 world rowing champs. It is probably the heart of rowing in New Zealand. In fact, one private school in nearby Cambridge, offers a rowing programme as part of the curriculum offered.
New Zealand is a small country, with only about four and a half million people. However, it continues to prove itself a strong sporting nation and children grow up having access to a wide range of sports at an early age. With two gold medal heroes to look up to, I’m sure NZ kids will not be content to row their boats gently down the stream. Rather, they will set their hearts on rowing toward Olympic gold.
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