Alexander Mahé Owens Drysdale MNZM (born 19 November 1978)[3] is a retired New Zealand rower. Drysdale is a two-time Olympic champion and a five-time world champion in the single sculls. He is a seven-time New Zealand national champion and five-time recipient of New Zealand Sportsman of the Year.

Mahé Drysdale
Personal information
Full nameAlexander Mahé Owens Drysdale
Born (1978-11-19) 19 November 1978 (age 45)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Height2.00 m (6 ft 6+12 in)[1]
Weight99 kg (218 lb; 15.6 st)[2]
(m. 2013)
Relative(s)Peter Drysdale (brother)
Rose Keddell (cousin)
Medal record
Men's rowing
Representing  New Zealand
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2012 London Single sculls
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Single sculls
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Beijing Single sculls
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2005 Gifu Single sculls
Gold medal – first place 2006 Eton Single sculls
Gold medal – first place 2007 Munich Single sculls
Gold medal – first place 2009 Poznań Single sculls
Gold medal – first place 2011 Bled Single sculls
Silver medal – second place 2010 Karapiro Single sculls
Silver medal – second place 2014 Amsterdam Single sculls
Silver medal – second place 2015 Aiguebelette Single sculls

Early life and background edit

Born in Australia to New Zealand parents, the name Mahé comes from the largest island in the Seychelles.[4] He attended Tauranga Boys' College in Tauranga, New Zealand, then the University of Auckland[5] where he took up rowing at the age of 18. He initially gave up rowing to concentrate on his studies, but began again after watching fellow New Zealander Rob Waddell win gold at the 2000 Olympic Games.[6] Drysdale rowed from West End Rowing Club in Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand, and is also a member of the Tideway Scullers School, London.

World Championships edit

Drysdale first represented for New Zealand at the Rowing World Cup III in 2002, in the New Zealand coxless four. After the 2004 Olympic Games, where his New Zealand crew finished fifth in the final, Drysdale switched to the single scull. He won his first World Championship title at the 2005 World Rowing Championships at Gifu, Japan, despite having broken two vertebrae in a crash with a water skier earlier in the year.[7]

He successfully defended his title in 2006 at Dorney Lake, Eton, England, in 2007 at Munich, Germany, and again in 2009 in Poznań, Poland, holding off Britain's Alan Campbell and the Czech Republic's Ondřej Synek. At the 2009 World Rowing Championships he beat his own world best time in the single and reduced it to 6:33.35.[8] As of 2021 that time stands as the best time at a World Rowing Championship[9] but it was beaten in 2017 by his countryman Robbie Manson for the new men's single scull world record.

Olympic Games edit

At his first Olympic Games, in 2004, Drysdale was part of the New Zealand coxless four team that finished fifth.[10]

Drysdale was officially selected as New Zealand's Olympic heavyweight sculler for the Beijing Olympics on 7 March 2008. He was also chosen to carry the flag for New Zealand during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony.[11] Unfortunately for Drysdale, a severe gastrointestinal infection in the week before his final saw him off form[12] and he was only able to win the bronze medal in the men's single scull. The gold and silver medals went to Olaf Tufte from Norway and Ondřej Synek from the Czech Republic, respectively. Clearly suffering from his illness, after his race Drysdale was carried by life raft and then moved to a waiting ambulance. He was also seen vomiting. He was, however, able to stand to be awarded his medal.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics Drysdale won the gold medal in the men's single sculls, despite throwing up the morning of race day due to nervousness.[13] He has since been dethroned, and had to settle with silver in the world championships leading up to the 2016 Olympics, each time bested by the Czech Ondřej Synek, who won the WC in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Drysdale successfully defended his Olympic men's single sculls title, taking the gold medal over Croatia's Damir Martin. The race was decided by a photo finish, with Drysdale edging out Martin by half a bow ball.[14] In November 2016, Drysdale announced that he would take a break from rowing in 2017.[15] He returned to the New Zealand squad at the end of 2017 with a view of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.[16]

After losing out to Jordan Parry in selection for the single scull at the rearranged 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Drysdale announced his retirement from international rowing in June 2021.[17]

New Zealand national championships edit

Drysdale won the gold medal six times in single sculls at the New Zealand national championships through 2010.[18] In 2011, he won the silver medal in single sculls at the New Zealand National Rowing Championships at Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel, losing to Nathan Cohen by two lengths.[18] He reclaimed the national title in 2012, where Cohen took second.[19] He did not compete in 2013.[20]

Other edit

In 2018, he won a sixth Diamond Challenge Sculls title (the premier event for single sculls) at the Henley Royal Regatta.[21]

Awards edit

Drysdale has won the Sportsman of the Year award at the Halberg Awards on five occasions (2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2016).[22] He is the only New Zealander to have won the award more than three times.[23] In 2006 he also won the Halberg Supreme Prize.

He won the University of Auckland Young Alumnus of the Year Award in 2007,[24] and was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing in the 2009 New Year Honours.[25]

Canoe polo edit

Drysdale has also represented New Zealand in canoe polo as a junior.[4] He represented NZ in an under-18 team that toured to Fiji. Later he was a NZ under-21 representative that toured to Tonga. In 1999–2000 he was executive of NZ Canoe Polo.[citation needed]

Personal life edit

Drysdale married fellow rower and Olympic bronze medallist Juliette Haigh in September 2013.[26] They have one daughter, born in October 2014.[27]

Drysdale is cousin to Rose Keddell, a member of the New Zealand women's hockey team.[28] His younger brother, Peter, is a cricketer.[29]

References edit

  1. ^ "Mahe Drysdale". New Zealand Olympic Committee. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Mahe Drysdale". International Rowing Federation. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Mahe Drysdale". New Zealand Olympic Committee. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b Rattue, Chris (10 September 2005). "Rowing: Stubborn streak runs in Drysdale's blood". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Chch City Libraries". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Halber sports awards biography pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. ^ Geenty, Mark (6 September 2005). "Rowing: From numb to sensation". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  8. ^ "World Best Times". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  9. ^ World's Best Times at World Rowing
  10. ^ "Mahe Drysdale at". Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  11. ^ AP, Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald staff (8 August 2008). "Drysdale, Beijing ready for big night out". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 August 2008.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ The New Zealand Herald staff (16 August 2008). "Back from the brink and bound for glory". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  13. ^ Drysdale starts golden day throwing up
  14. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: Mahe Drysdale powers to back-to-back single sculls golds". 14 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray put golden partnership on hold". The New Zealand Herald. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  16. ^ Anderson, Ian (23 November 2017). "World champions remain absent". The Press. p. B8. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  17. ^ Anderson, Ian. "New Zealand's dual Olympic rowing gold medallist Mahe Drysdale retires". Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  18. ^ a b "Cohen takes national sculls crown off Drysdale". TVNZ. 19 February 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  19. ^ Kashka Tunstall (18 February 2012). "Rowing | Drysdale reclaims national title at Karapiro..." Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  20. ^ "World Rowing • News". 26 February 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  21. ^ "Diamond Challenge Sculls, List of past winners". Henley Royal Regatta. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  22. ^ NZPA (15 February 2007). "Drysdale captures supreme Halberg Award". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  23. ^ Burgess, Michael (9 February 2017). "Lisa Carrington queen of sport with Halberg Awards wins". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award winners – Mahé Drysdale". University of Auckland. Retrieved 7 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "New Years Honours 2009". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  26. ^ "Wild, woolly weather no wedding dampener". The New Zealand Herald. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  27. ^ Maas, Amy (5 October 2014). "Oarsome baby girl". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  28. ^ Rowan, Juliet (14 March 2015). "Hockey: Gemma Flynn, Rose Keddell and Sam Charlton". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Peter Drysdale makes first-class debut aged 33 with 19 ND players unavailable". Stuff. Retrieved 6 April 2022.

External links edit

Preceded by Halberg Awards – Supreme Award
Succeeded by
Preceded by New Zealand's Sportsman of the Year
2006, 2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Scott Dixon
Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by
Scott Dixon
Preceded by Succeeded by
Preceded by Lonsdale Cup
Succeeded by