Athlete of the Month – June 2018
Richard Schmidt has been a key part of the hugely successful German men’s eight for ten years. The 31-year-old has helped them to one Olympic gold, four World Championships golds, three World Championship silvers and one Olympic silver. Despite his long run of success, he tells us he hasn’t changed much – and that includes the desire for Olympic gold again.
World Rowing: You’ve been part of the German eight for ten years. What has changed about your role in the team in that time?
Richard Schmidt: I’ve been in the team since 2008 and not much has changed. Of course, through my experience I can better assess many situations and can thus give the team more input and support
WR: How have you changed as a rower?
RS: I do not think that I have changed much. But I think that I have become more professional. I try to do my best every year and keep developing myself.
WR: Which of your many World Championship wins stands out as the best? And why?
RS: All the World Champion titles were really great. The one in 2009 was something special because it was my first title. Also, 2010 and 2011 were super exciting because the eight went very well. Last year was a perfect year. We won the world championship title and we rowed the World Best Time.
WR: What has been the hardest race or result of your career?
RS: The hardest race was the London 2012 Olympic final but the result [gold] was phenomenal.
WR: What makes the German eight so successful?
RS: I do not know exactly. I think we are really training hard and trying to improve every year.
WR: Is the crew well known in Germany, outside of rowing circles?
RS: Many people know the boat and the “Deutschlandachter” but they did not know the rowers who sit in the eight. In Germany, rowing is not as popular as in the UK.
WR: What do you want to achieve this year?
RS: We’ll try to race well and try to defend our title at the World Championship this year. But it is going to be very tough this year.
WR: What is your long-term goal for your rowing?
RS: To try to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and then I hope I win there again J
WR: Why did you choose rowing and what keeps you coming back every year?
RS: Rowing is a very nice sport. I like to do sports in nature. I also love being part of a team and to try to win with them J
WR: What do you do when you’re not rowing?
RS: I have studied engineering and am currently working in research. I'm doing my doctorate in engineering.
WR: Which sports person or people do you most admire and why?
RS: I have no specific role model. I admire people who show continuous performance and are respectful and down to earth like Roger Federer or Michael Schumacher.