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WATCHING NOW PEOPLE

A BRAVE NEW WORLD MAHÉ DRYSDALE

THE OLYMPIC ROWER TALKS TO WRITER HÉLÈNE RAVLICH ABOUT THE VERY DIFFERENT PLAYING FIELDS AWAITING YOUNGATHLETES ARRIVING IN TOKYOFOR THEGAMES THISMONTH.

With just a few weeks to go until the Tokyo Olympics, New Zealand rowing great Mahé Drysdale is looking forward to observing from afar – with no pressure resting on his shoulders and no immediate plans on the horizon. The father of three is currently enjoying spending his days on parental duties, after announcing his retirement from compet- itive rowing this year, aged 42. “I’m mainly being dad at the moment,” says the veteran of no less than four Olympic games, “and I’m looking forward to doing that for the next few months at least.” When quizzed about the future he admits that at this point in time, he really has no plans on the horizon, after years of being so laser focused on his sport. “I always knew when rowing finished I’d have plenty of time to think about what I really want to do,” he adds, “and at the moment I’m really look- ing for-ward to going and trying a few new things out to see if one fits.”

One wonders if the life of a successful pro- fessional sports-person is akin to delaying adulthood, with none of the pressures that come with turning up every day to an office and counting down the hours until five o’clock.

“Well it hasn’t always been like that,” says Drysdale with a laugh, “and it’s changed a lot since the days when

I first began in sport. Back then it was pretty much an unpaid hobby, now it’s a viable career.

IMAGE: PHOTOSPORT

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