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Joseph Sullivan MNZM (born 11 April 1987) is a New Zealand rower.

Joseph Sullivan
Joseph Sullivan, 2010.jpg
Sullivan in 2010
Personal information
Born (1987-04-11) 11 April 1987 (age 32)
Rangiora, New Zealand

As a student at Queen Charlotte College in Picton, Sullivan competed at the 2003, 2004 and 2005 national secondary school rowing championships (Maadi Cup). He was a member of the crews that won the boys under-18 double sculls for the school three years running, and won the boys under-18 single sculls events in 2004 and 2005.[1][2][3] In his home town, he is known as "the pride of Picton".[4]

He won back-to-back gold medals in the men's double sculls with rowing partner Nathan Cohen at both the 2010 (at Lake Karapiro, by six hundredths of a second over Germans Hans Gruhne and Stephan Krüger) and 2011 World Rowing Championships (in Slovenia).[5][6][7] It was the first gold medal win for a New Zealand premier double sculls combination at the world championships.[6]

At the 2012 Summer Olympics at Eton Dorney, Windsor, Sullivan and rowing partner Nathan Cohen won the gold medal in the men's double scull event.[8] They broke the Olympic best time in the heats.[5][9]

In the finals they were in last place at the 500 m mark, in fifth place at the 1000 m mark, in fourth at the 1500 m mark, and then sprinted as the line approached to take first for the victory, with a last quarter of 1:33.[9][10][11] They won with a time of 6 minutes, 31.67 seconds.[5] They finished ahead of the Italy's Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti by 1:13 seconds, and Slovenian 2000 Olympic champions and 2004 silver medalists Luka Špik and Iztok Čop came in third.[5][12] Sullivan and Cohen were awarded a Halberg Award for "New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment".[13]

Sullivan won five consecutive world titles at U23 and Elite World Rowing Championships. In the 2013 New Year Honours, Sullivan was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.[14]

In June 2014, Sullivan announced he was retiring from rowing in order to pursue a career with the New Zealand Fire Service as a firefighter based in Auckland.[15] In 2016, Sullivan joined Emirates Team New Zealand,[4] as a grinder a (i.e. spinning the handles that produce hydraulic pressure to move the boat's wings and daggerboards), for the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda.[16]


  1. ^ "Joseph Sullivan – 2003 Maadi Cup". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Joseph Sullivan – 2004 Maadi Cup". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Joseph Sullivan – 2005 Maadi Cup". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b Jones, Peter (30 November 2016). "Sullivan primed, ready for new challenge". The Marlborough Express. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Jewish rower from New Zealand wins Olympic gold". Haaretz. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Logan Savory (21 March 2012). "Rower Nathan Cohen has eye on Olympic prize". Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  7. ^ Ian Anderson (27 December 2011). "Rowing duo Cohen, Sullivan eye London Olympics". Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan of New Zealand win Olympic rowing gold in men's double sculls". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 August 2012.[dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Rowing at the 2012 London Summer Games: Men's Double Sculls | Olympics". Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  10. ^ "World Rowing – Official Website". Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Rowing: Heart problem forces Cohen's withdrawal from summer training". NZ Herald News. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Kiwi double scullers claim Olympic gold medal". The Southland Times. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  13. ^ "50th Westpac Halberg Awards Finalists". Halberg Disability Sport Foundation. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  14. ^ "New Year honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  15. ^ Alderson, Andrew (5 June 2014). "Rowing: Retiring Sullivan fired up about his new job". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  16. ^ McFadden, Suzanne (11 April 2017). "Olympian brings power to Team NZ". Newsroom. Retrieved 8 June 2017.

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