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Olympics is like nothing else,” says the rower, “and comes with so much excitement but also such a fear of the unknown. You just want to know what’s in store, how it all rolls out. Then, when you mature as an athlete and there’s the possibility that you might win a medal, the pressure goes on and it becomes important to just focus on what you have to do to make sure that you perform.” The double-gold medalist explains that once you know the day and the time of your event, laser focus really kicks in, “and you’re doing everything possible in the lead up to make sure you’re ready at that moment”.He says that from a rowing perspective, your workload tapers off as you get closer to D-day, “with more short and sharp stuff and hours training slightly less. You get a real surge of energy as a result, and you have to keep your mind active and watch what you’re eating because you’re not training as much”. Drysdale talks about the Olympic environment once you’ve checked in, which is awash in factors that are totally out of your control. “You really have to learn to roll with the punches and relax, and focus on what you can control. Control the controllables and you’ll be ready when your moment arrives.”

Rio 2016 Olympics Gold – with Juliette & Bronte

Getting paid to do what you do best has been a game changer for sport because it means that athletes can compete for longer because the financial pressure isn’t there.” He admits that his rowing career has been his biggest passion for the longest time, and that it will take a lot of soul searching to find some- thing that drives him to get out of bed each day in quite the same way. “I’m confident I will though,” he says, “and that’s why I don’t want to rush into the first thing I get offered. I want to take the time to make those calls.” Drysdale competed at his first Olympic Games in Athens 2004, missing out on this year's Tokyo Olympics after Jordan Parry earned the single sculls spot. His career saw him dominate single sculls to an unprecedented level for more than 12 years, spanning three Olympic games. Highlights include winning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics followed by back-to-back Olympic gold medals in London 2012 and Rio 2016, and the lanky athlete won the Halberg Supreme Award in 2006 and was Sportsman of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2016. With all that in mind, it’s safe to say that he knows exactly what the lead up to a major event like the Olympics is like for the athletes traveling soon to Tokyo to compete. Taking place from Friday July 23rd to Sunday August 8th, this year’s Olympics will be like no other, after being delayed a year due to the pandemic. How does he think our newest ath- letes will be feeling right about now? “That first

Lake Karapiro, with Boston & Bronte

SKY SPORT OLYMPIC GAMES COVERAGE 23RD JULY–8TH AUGUST  SEE MORE + Selected live events and highlights, free to air on TVNZ 1 and Sky Sport’s YouTube channel.

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