The rise and rise of Nathan Cohen

17:37, Dec 19 2013

From school rower to Olympic champion. Logan Savory  outlines how this remarkable career played out.

2000: Cohen's rowing career was born and his early success came as part of the James Hargest College under-15 eight that won gold at the Otago Championships. Another future Southland Olympic bronze medallist, Storm Uru, was part of that eight.

2002: This was a breakthrough year, when Cohen's talents quickly emerged for all to see. At the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships he won gold in the under-17 single at Lake Ruataniwha.

2003: At 17, Cohen was easily the youngest competitor in the New Zealand under-21 single race but that didn't stop him winning the title. His startling form sees him named in the New Zealand team to attend the junior championships in Athens.He become the toast of New Zealand rowing when Cohen won silver in the single sculls at the world championships.

2004: Cohen made another trip to the junior world championships this time in Spain but it was the same result, a silver medal in the single.

2005: Cohen teamed up with Richard Hamilton to win gold in the men's double sculls at the New Zealand Rowing Championships. He also picked up silver in the single scull on being pipped by Mahe Drysdale. He was named Southland Rower of the Year after another outstanding 12 months.


2006: Cohen and fellow Southlander Storm Uru were selected in the New Zealand team to compete at the world under-23 championships in Belgium. In what was a special day for Southland rowing, Uru won gold lightweight single and, just a few hours later, Cohen picked up silver in the premier single. Cohen followed that up with gold medals at the Commonwealth Regatta in Scotland and the World University Games in Lithuania.

2007: Cohen was named as a finalist for the Emerging Talent honour at the Halberg Awards. In 2007  teamed up to win the New Zealand men's double sculls title and again claimed silver in the single being beaten by Mahe Drysdale. He was selected to attend his first elite world championships regatta, where the Southlander finished sixth alongside Matthew Trott in the double sculls in Amsterdam.

2008:  He was selected in the New Zealand team to head to the Olympics in Beijing. He teamed up with Rob Waddell but was put into in the double after Mahe Drysdale won the right to represent New Zealand in the single.Cohen and Waddell finished fifth. In October, Cohen won the prestigious Head of the Charles regatta in Boston, beating a star-studded field, including Mahe Drysdale.

2009:  He added a Henley Regatta title to his CV when he an Matthew Trott teamed up to win the double sculls at the prestigious English meet.

2010: In New Zealand rowing there were more exciting moments. Cohen won his first world title when he teamed up with Joseph Sullivan in the double scull. What made the title special for New Zealand rowing was that it was the first time a Kiwi combo had  won the men's doubles title.To add to it all, the 2010 world championships were held in New Zealand at Lake Karapiro.

2011:  Cohen started the year by winning the New Zealand singles title, beating a field that included the country's single scull star Mahe Drysdale. He also went back-to-back at the world championships, with Sullivan again teaming up to win the gold medal, this time in Bled.

2012:  It was the year Cohen become a Olympic champion. He and Sullivan yet again teamed up to beat the best in the world but this time it was on the biggest stage of all, which was the Olympics in London.By doing so, Cohen became the first and only Southlander to win an Olympic gold, etching his name in the history books for good.

2013:  In the New Year honours list, Cohen was named Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rowing. He also won the New Zealand Male Rower of the Year Award.Cohen returned to the national squad as part of the quadruple scull, which included his younger brother. H

is crew won a silver medal at the Sydney World Cup regatta.

In April he suffered an irregular heartbeat in a series of training races.

He withdrew in the middle of the World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea, in August because of recurrence of the ailment during the men's quad scull preliminary heats.

After some time out from rowing , Cohen decided he would retire from the sport. 

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