One Storey stops, another begins
Christchurch Olympian John Storey has put his rowing aspirations for next year on hold.
Storey, a member of the New Zealand quad team at the London Olympics, wants to complete his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Canterbury before a tilt at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
However, there will still be a Storey on the national sporting circuit with younger sister Jenny, 20, selected last week for the Black Sticks hockey squad to play India next month.
In London, Kiwis Michael Arms, Matthew Trott, Robert Manson and Storey had to be content with winning the repechage final after being eliminated from the medal race.
But Storey, 25, said his decision to take a break had nothing to do with missing out on a medal.
"I have been rowing now for 10 years and that is a long time. And four years is a long time as well in the buildup to Rio. So it feels like the right time to have a year off . It also works out I have one year left in my degree and I need to get that done."
The London expedition was hampered by Trott slipping a disc in his back at the World Cup in May.
"He was out for pretty much a month after that, which set us back going into the Olympics," Storey said.
"He was able to get back into the boat, which was great, but it would have been good to have had that buildup together as a quad.
"At the Olympics itself, we were happy with the result, considering what had happened."
Born and raised in England, Storey moved from Cambridge to Christchurch as a 13-year-old when his father began teaching at Canterbury University.
After making the New Zealand under-23 team in 2008, Storey, who had completed three years of his degree, stopped studying to concentrate on rowing in Waikato but elected to study finance extra-murally.
The chance to have a break from the constant pressure to perform in the boat has some appeal, he said.
"It is very ruthless and you have got to fight for your seat the whole time. There is always pressure on you.
"I don't mind that. I can see where they are coming from; they want the best crew in there. But it will be good to step away from that and see what normal life is all about."
The chances of Arms, Trott, Manson and Storey competing together again appear remote. Trott is also taking a break and Storey suspects he might not return.
Storey has already mapped out a programme for when he plans to make his way back to the water.
"Hopefully, I can make my way into the team and build up for Rio.
"The chances of getting back together as a quad are pretty slim but hopefully us other three will stay together."