Cohen says Rio decision will have to wait

Nathan Cohen isn't ready to make a call on whether he will have a shot at making it two Olympic gold medals or not.

The Southlander soaked up the fanfare yesterday as he and five fellow Southland Olympians took to the streets of Invercargill for a tickertape parade, which attracted thousands of people.

Cohen has become the first and only Southlander to win an Olympic gold medal and he has dramatically become a national hero in what has been a big couple of weeks for him and his rowing partner, Storm Uru, both former James Hargest College students.

When the dust settles on what has to be regarded Southland's greatest-ever sporting achievement, Cohen will have a decision to make - to go another four years or move on from the sport of rowing.

It is a decision Cohen says it is too big to make now.

"I'm just enjoying this moment. I've worked out over the past 10 years I've probably had no more than two weeks off rowing."

"For me, it was just about having everything planned up until the 2nd of August for the final, and I'd made no definite plans after that," he said.

"So now is the time to relax, enjoy the moment and catch up with some family and friends. All that sort of stuff [that] you probably put on hold a bit, and just enjoy the achievement with them because they're the people that got you there.

"I'll obviously take a bit of a holiday and decide on what happens next. . . . I love the sport and I love this moment, it's just making sure you are in the right frame of mind to undertake that commitment.

"It's either 100 per cent or nothing, there's no half doing it, there's no 95 per cent doing it, it has to be all in," he said.

"Obviously once all the hype dies down a bit - as great as it is at the moment - you really need time to yourself to reflect and make sure you've got that inner drive and that motivation to represent New Zealand to the best of your ability or there's no point doing it."

Choosing to chase Olympic gold was life-absorbing, Cohen said, and it was a big commitment to make.

"This has been my life for the past 10 years, but I've loved doing it. Hopefully I can carry on; that's something I'll be looking into."

The past two weeks since the win had been a whirlwind adventure as everyone had celebrated with him in his success. It was something he said he was not used to, but he had enjoyed it.

"I've started to realise that the Olympics is so much bigger than sport.

"That's the great thing about the Olympics, it doesn't matter which country you're from, what background you have, whether you like sport or like the arts, everyone comes together for one event," Cohen said.

"It's just been amazing to be part of it, to see the way it's been received up and down the country.

"There's more attention than you could ever expect, it's all new to me. It's been a great experience but a different experience."

The Southland Times