With his youthful, cherubic looks, Dickie's is the most recognisable face of the champion rowers of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He was fresh out of Wanganui Collegiate when he was drafted into the national rowing squad by coach Rusty Robertson, as a replacement for No 1 cox Alan Boykett, who had drowned in an accident on Wellington Harbour.

Unlike the rowers in the coxed four, who had been hoping initially to make the prestigious New Zealand eight crew - Dickie was elated just to get to the Mexico City Olympics. He went as the back-up cox, but improved quickly and was rewarded with a gold medal in the coxed four.

After a few weeks in camp at Kerrs Reach, Christchurch, the four had realised they had a special chemistry. In Robertson's words: "When they got together, they were they funniest-looking crew you'd ever seen."

This dark horse status was to work to their advantage.

The eight, so impressive in the build-up to the Olympics and in the early rounds, crumbled late in the final and came fourth. The New Zealand oarsmen finished in a state of distress, mainly because of the thinner altitude at Mexico City.

However the four - stroke Dick Joyce, Dudley Storey, Ross Collinge and Warren Cole, plus cox Dickie - never put a foot wrong, winning their heat and semi-final, though not in the fastest times.

In the final they pushed their bow ahead at 300 metres and continued to attack, winning by nearly three seconds from East Germany and Switzerland. That was the last time they raced together - three races, three victories, and the gold medal.

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