Two golds better than one for Drysdale

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 05:00 22/12/2012
Waikato Times

New Zealand Olympic sculling champion Mahe Drysdale made his much anticipated announcement concerning his future and he is aiming to win a second gold in Rio 2016.

Mahe Drysdale
IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
GOING FOR DOUBLE: Mahe Drysdale will row for Rio in 2016.

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Mahe Drysdale is gunning for back-to-back gold medals when he takes to the water at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Drysdale, 34, announced he will continue in the sport with the aim of competing at the Rio Games in 2016.

After taking out gold in London last year he considered calling it quits and says he wouldn't stay in the sport if he didn't think he could back it up with another medal.

"Obviously, I guess, the major goal at the end of this is to try and have two gold medals rather than one. That's really what I'm aiming for," he said.

"Knowing that I've already achieved that Olympic gold medal I needed to be sure that the allure of a second was just as strong as it was for the first. That's probably what's really taken the time to come to grips with."

Drysdale said it was a "tough decision" to continue as he didn't know whether he had the hunger to compete on the world stage after 12 years in the sport and three Olympic campaigns.

"I wasn't going to go half-assed because there's just no point in doing that. It would have just been disappointing for me and disappointing for everyone to see me drop my way down the field; not to say that that couldn't still happen, but I'm pretty sure that, if I'm going into it with the right attitude, I'm confident that I can stay up the front of the field rahter than be there to make up the numbers.

"To myself and to other people I feel like I've got nothing left to prove so in some ways that takes a lot of pressure off."

Drysdale also considered the possibility of trading in the single scull for a larger boat and forming a crew.

"It's something, again, that has come up during my decision making process - was the single the right boat for me, or was it time to go and have another challenge?

"I definitely consdiered that very hard, but ultimately how old I am and my body probably just couldn't handle the twice-a-day training, and obviously that makes it very hard with a crew," he said.

Rowing New Zealand chief executive Simon Peterson made it clear that Drysdale will not be promised a Rowing NZ seat for the 2013 world championships - rather that he will just be eligible for selection and will need to prove he is the best person for the boat and can produce the results expected of the squad.

Drysdale talked with a number of people about his decision to continue, including friends, family, teammates and his partner - Olympic rowing bronze-medallist Juliette Haigh, who retired from the sport earlier this month - but said, ultimately, the decision came down to him.

"Over that time I realised I do love the sport, I still have goals, there's still things I'd love to achieve in the sport.

"I think I've come up with a plan that can be effective, that will keep me going and keep me in a position where I can be very competitive to achive my goals in Rio.

"This is possibly my last opportunity so I've got to go out and enjoy the next three or four years and make the most of the opporunity."

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- Waikato Times

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