Dudley Storey has been a leading figure in the history of New Zealand rowing, as a competitor, selector and administrator.
He won an Olympic gold medal with the coxed four at Mexico City in 1968, and a silver medal with the coxless four – behind the mighty East German crew - at Munich in 1972.
In 1970, Storey was in the New Zealand eight that claimed the bronze medal at the world championships at St Catharines, Canada. He also won an impressive array of national titles – the eights with Auckland in 1966 and 68 and with West End in 1972, the fours with Auckland in 1964, 65 and 66 and the quadruple sculls with West End in 1976, 77 and 78.
By the time of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Storey, a strong personality, was already a seasoned rower and was the unofficial captain/mentor of the otherwise inexperienced four that shocked by winning the gold.
Like the rest of the four, he would have liked a spot in the New Zealand eight. But after a few weeks in camp at Kerrs Reach, Christchurch, the four realised they had a special chemistry. In coach Rusty 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, Storey, Ross Collinge and Warren Cole, plus cox Simon 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 300m 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.
Storey had competed in the coxed four at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in a team that finished eighth overall, and had been a member of the New Zealand eight that reached the final at the world championships in Bled in 1966.
Many of the rowers of Storey’s era have remained involved in their sport, but none have given more back to rowing than the popular Aucklander. He has been a national selector for many years and has involved himself in coaching at all levels.
Storey has the ability to communicate well. He managed several New Zealand rowing teams abroad during the 1980s, including to the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, and his teams’ records at world champs and Olympics were partly a reflection of his knowledge and enthusiasm.
Though he was never especially big for an international rower, he invariably overperformed, which won him tremendous respect from his peers.
Storey, a carpet layer specialising in interior floor design, found a niche in the market by providing carpet for super yachts.
He is married to Paula. Not surprisingly, their children have become involved in rowing and one, Alison, reached national level.
The 1968 rowing crew that included Storey was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.