Cohen says now is the time to go

16:00, Dec 19 2013
Nathan Cohen
ENDURING IMAGE: Nathan Cohen, right, and Joseph Sullivan after winning gold in the men's double sculls at the London Olympics in 2012.

Olympic champion Nathan Cohen has retired from rowing.

The 27-year-old Waikato-based sculler won't be seeking a second gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but said a heart condition that saw him pull out of the New Zealand team during this year's world champs wasn't the deciding factor in his retirement.

Cohen became a national hero in August last year when he teamed up with Joseph Sullivan to produce a remarkable finish to win gold in the men's double sculls at the London Olympics.

This added to the World Championship titles Cohen had won in 2010 and 2011 in partnership with Sulivan.

Cohen said yesterday after a few months of deliberating he had come to the decision that now was the right time to move on.

"It's been an interesting few months when you go around in circles a little bit but I'm happy to finally make a decision and move on." he said.

"Obviously rowing is everything I've known for the past 14 years, you put your whole life into it so it's always going to be a difficult time. But I've had great advice from people around me that have been there before and I've finally been able to get to the stage where I can realise that it's been an awesome experience but at the same time I'm ready to move on."

Cohen suffered an irregular heart problem during winter racing trials with the NZ squad and that eventually saw him pull out of the NZ men's quad at the world champs in Chungju, South Korea, in September after their heat.

"It's not the reason I'm retiring but it was the break that it gave me time to stop and think, which is probably the first time I've done that since I started the sport."

Cohen remembers fondly how he got into the sport as a 13-year-old in Invercargill when asked to take up the sport by fellow 2012 Olympic medallist Storm Uru.

"I have Storm to thank for getting me involved in the initial place," he said.

"We had so much fun together right from the start and it carried on from there, even though we were absolutely hopeless in our first couple of years. That was such an important thing for me because sport was almost more about enjoyment than it was about results, the results started coming later because you enjoyed it so much."

In his final year at school, Cohen won the Boys under-18 single sculls title at the 2003 New Zealand Secondary School champs subsequently joined the NZ rowing team at junior level.

In 2003 and 2004, he was second in the Junior World Rowing Championships single sculls and in 2006 won a silver medal at the World Rowing u-23 Championships.

Cohen teamed up with Matthew Trott in 2007 in the double sculls at the world champs in Munich, where they finished sixth to qualify for an Olympic spot for Beijing in 2008.

However, Trott was moved aside for the inclusion of Rob Waddell in the double, but the combination never truly gelled and they finished just out of the medals in Beijing when fourth in the final.

Cohen will start a new job with the Bank of New Zealand in the commercial department in Waikato early next year.


Fairfax Media