Mahe Drysdale put the fullstop on a magnificent career by winning the single sculls at the 2012 London Olympics.
With five world titles plus an Olympic bronze, the 1.99m Drysdale was already a giant of his sport, literally and figuratively. All he needed was to complete the unfinished business of winning an Olympic gold medal. He did that emphatically in 2012.
Nathan Cohen’s first foray into Olympic competition ended disappointingly when he and Rob Waddell were edged out of the medals in Beijing in 2008. Before he was done, however, Cohen had won two world titles and an Olympic gold medal and was regarded as one of the greats of New Zealand rowing.
Cohen was born in Christchurch in 1986 and raised in Invercargill.
Juliette Haigh rounded out a stellar rowing career by teaming with Rebecca Scown to win the bronze medal in the women’s pair at the 2012 London Olympics.
For Haigh, it was a case of third time lucky. She’d been a finalist in the previous two Olympics, but come up short of a medal each time.
Lisa Carrington has travelled a well-worn path on her way to winning world and Olympic kayaking titles. Like many leading paddlers, including multiple Olympic gold medallists Ian Ferguson, Paul MacDonald and Alan Thompson, she was already a good surf lifesaver when she turned to kayaking.
The New Zealand Sports Foundation and Rowing New Zealand had to work fast after the 2000 Sydney Olympics to hold on to expert rowing coach Dick Tonks.