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Mahe Drysdale - Rowing

Mahe Drysdale - Rowing

Born on November 19, 1978 in Melbourne, Australia, Alexander Mahe Owens Drysdale is a professional rower who will be representing New Zealand in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Although born in Australia, Drysdale moved to New Zealand and took up rowing there. From his earliest days in competition, it was clear that he was a force to be reckoned with. Strength, speed, stamina, and an extremely high IQ for the sport – Drysdale is at the top of his game.

Drysdale was given name “Mahe” after the island of the same name in the Seychelles chain. Drysdale has gone by Mahe for years, dropping the Alexander. But whatever you call him, Mahe is a true champion, winning the World Championship in single sculler rowing five times. His Olympic performance in Beijing was underwhelming, but he hopes to change that this summer.

Sporting Career

Mahe Drysdale didn’t always plan on rowing. It wasn’t exactly something he aspired to as a child. But while attending the University of Auckland when he was 18, he began rowing for the school. Not thrilled with the competition, Drysdale quickly gave up the sport to focus solely on his studies. However, after Rod Waddell, a fellow New Zealander, won gold in Sydney at the 2000 Olympic Games, Drysdale decided to give the sport another try.

Drysdale had an amazing aptitude for the sport, knowing exactly which moves to make with little training compared to the rest of the field. He entered the professional ranks in 2002 at the World Cup level – something that most rowers with only a few years of training wouldn’t dare do.  But because he was part of a team, any flaws Drysdale may have had were masked. He and the New Zealand team entered the 2004 Olympic Games with high hopes but would ultimately finish in 5th place.

In 2005, Drysdale gave up on the team and moved to the single scull event. He won the World Championships that same year. And if it isn’t impressive enough that Drysdale won the event in his first year competing as an individual, the fact that he did so with two broken vertebrae in his back should really paint the picture of just how amazing the win was. In 2006 he would repeat those same results, minus the broken back, and then again in 2007.

This set the stage for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. All eyes were on Drysdale; he was a favorite to win. However, Mahe’s disappointing bronze medal was a crushing blow. Coming off of three consecutive world titles, Drysdale was the best in the world by a wide margin. But despite the Olympic letdown, Mahe would return to the World Championships in 2009, not only winning gold again but also breaking his previous world record.

2010 saw Drysdale drop down to 2nd place in the Worlds, but he quickly corrected that mistake with yet another gold medal in 2011. Again, the stage is set for the Olympic Games. This time Drysale is more focused than ever on the win.

Career Highlights

  • 2005 World Championships – Gold
  • 2006 World Championships – Gold
  • 2007 World Championships – Gold
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Bronze
  • 2009 World Championships – Gold
  • 2010 World Championships – Silver
  • 2011 World Championships – Gold
  • 2012 Summer Olympics – Gold

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