Rebecca Scown was born in Taranaki in 1983. She has a strong family background in sport – her brother Sam has played rep rugby for Wanganui, her uncle Alistair was an All Black forward and her cousin Sonia was an Olympic rower who married Rob Waddell. Scown completed her schooling at Wanganui Collegiate School and took up rowing in her final years there. Then it was on to Otago to study commerce and arts. She completed her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Bachelor of Arts in Art History before moving to Cambridge to become a fulltime athlete. After completing her degree, Scown also achieved a postgraduate diploma in Sport Management. In 2005, which was her final year at university, she received a Rowing New Zealand trial and made the New Zealand under-23 quadruple scull lineup with Bess Halley, Darnelle Timbs and Clementine Marshall. They competed at the under-23 world championships in Amsterdam and won a bronze medal. In 2006, Scown rowed for Wanganui’s Union Boat Club and after a good showing at the national champs, was named in the New Zealand eight for the world championships in Eton, England. The crew finished seventh. The following year Scown was again in the eight at the world champs, in Munich, Germany. After a disappointing showing, the New Zealanders could manage only ninth. The eight, with Scown at stroke, failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. In 2009, Scown teamed with another rower from that eight, Emma Feathery, to contest the women’s coxless pair. They had success immediately, winning two World Cup events and then grabbing bronze at the world championships in Poznan, Poland, behind the United States and Romania. In one of the closest races of the regatta, there was only 0.7s splitting the first three crews. In 2010, Juliette Haigh, who had been in the New Zealand women's pair from 2004 to 2008, returned to the event and became Scown’s partner. They proved a formidable combination. After winning two World Cup events they dominated proceedings at the 2010 world championships on their home waters of Lake Karapiro, heading home Britain and the United States by more than three seconds. Haigh and Scown again emerged with gold at the 2011 world championship in Bled, Slovenia, but this time it was a close-run thing and they pipped Britons Helen Glover and Heather Stanning by a whisker. They entered the 2012 London Olympics as favourites. However, the portents weren’t good in their heat when they were beaten by more than five seconds by Australia. In the final, the Britons were too good, and Australians Kate Hornsey and Sarah Tait edged them out of the silver medal. In fact, the New Zealanders had to scramble to hold out the Americans for the bronze. Haigh retired after the Olympics, so Scown teamed with 22-year-old Aucklander Kayla Pratt. The New Zealanders did well to secure the bronze medal, behind Britain and Romania, at the world champs in Chungju, South Korea.

News and Blogs

Joseph Romanos column: Rowing’s magnificent Olympic tradition

03 August 2012

Any Olympic gold is magnificent, but there was something particularly “New Zealand” about the way Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won the men’s double sculls at Eton Dorney today.