Cohen wants to be 100 per cent right
Olympic champion Nathan Cohen is undecided about his future, opting to take time out of rowing to address a minor heart problem and contemplate whether to make a push for the 2016 Olympics.
He has ruled himself out of Rowing New Zealand's elite summer squad selection which comes just weeks after he pulled out of the world championships following an episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in the heats.
SVT is a rapid heart rhythm which is common among endurance athletes given the stress they put their bodies under.
Southland's only Olympic gold medallist was back in his home province this week visiting schools as part of the Olympic ambassador programme.
Yesterday he played down the heart complaint which grabbed plenty of attention.
He said it was a minor issue and the episode at the world championships was more bad timing than anything.
"It was more inconvenience, there's nothing majorly wrong. To be honest if we didn't have a capable reserve I would have raced and carried on anyway," he said.
His former doubles partner Rob Waddell had a similar problem when he was rowing but Cohen said it was at a different scale.
"It's obviously nowhere near as bad as what Rob had it. He had it quite severe and it's a different chamber of the heart."
"From what I have found out, health-wise it is not a major thing. A lot of people experience these problems but most people don't know about it because they don't exercise themselves to exhaustion."
Cohen admitted when it first occurred during training at Lake Karapiro in April he did get a fright but doctors soon calmed his nerves.
"For me it was just a matter of not knowing what was happening, obviously my chest was thumping and felt like it was burning up," he said.
"I sort of started passing out a bit. I knew I wasn't quite right but because I was in a quad I kept rowing. It felt like it was going to explode but when I got to the end and lay down it came right quickly. When I got to hospital they worked out what it is all about."
For Cohen, who teamed with Joseph Sullivan to win gold in the double at the London Olympics, he hadn't put a time frame on a possible return to rowing. He said the timeout was about making sure he was 100 per cent mentally and physically to push for a place in the New Zealand team for Rio.
- © Fairfax NZ News