Birthdate6 Mar 1991
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Athlete of the Month – June 2015
China’s Wenyi Huang began rowing as a 12-year-old. A lightweight rower, she has made her mark in the field of the lightweight women’s double sculls by winning silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games and bronze last year at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.
World Rowing met up with Huang at the 2015 World Rowing Cup in Bled, Slovenia, early May, to get to know more about this promising and talented athlete.
World Rowing: How did you become involved in rowing?
Wenyi Huang: I was selected while I was at school when new rowing talents were spotted. I was very tall already at a young age (169cm at age 12), so I assume I attracted their attention. At that time I was also very skinny and it was very hard for me to get through the test races. But I have a strong determination and pushed as hard as I could. This impressed the coaches a lot.
WR: If not rowing what sport would you have chosen?
WR: Were any of your family members athletes?
WH: My mother used to be a basketball player and she played at a fairly high level in the provincial team of Guangdong.
WR: What did you know about rowing before you started?
WH: Actually nothing.
WR: Are you a full-time rower?
WH: Yes, I am a full-time rower.
WR: Do you train in other boats besides your main boat?
WH: My favourite boat is the lightweight double but I have been rowing in all the other lightweight boat classes.
WR: Where is your favourite rowing location?
WH: I think that all the venues in Europe are equally good but Bled is especially beautiful. I rowed here already in 2010 and in 2011 and I have a lot of good memories of this venue.
WR: What do you like to do in the hour before a big race?
WH: In the last hour before a big race I just want to be alone and calm down. After the weighing-in and before going on the water I usually have a little nap for around half an hour.
WR: What's your typical day like at the moment?
WH: At the moment I have three training sessions every day. The first at 06:00 in the morning, the second after my breakfast, so at 08:30, and the third after lunch break, so at 15:00. Then at 18:00 my free time starts.
WR: What is your best 2k on the erg?
WH: My personal record is 6:50.
WR: What's the most memorable bit of advice that your coach has said to you?
WH: One coach said to me once “You were born to be an Olympic Champion.” The funny thing is that what he meant was that at any national regatta in China I never achieved good results whereas I was always much better at international events, like the Olympics.
WR: What do you like to do outside of rowing?
WH: I like creative handicrafts, like sewing or creating jewellery. In my leisure time in the evenings I sew a big picture that looks like an ancient painting. I started this on the 1st of January in 2010, the day I became part of the national team. My original plan was to have it finished before the London Olympic Games but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. So now I aim for it to be finalised for the Rio Olympic Games. I like sewing because it is a good way to learn to be more patient and to improve stamina. These are both important for rowing, too. Apart from that I use my free time outside of rowing to learn English.
WR: What's your next rowing goal?
WH: The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
WR: How do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
WH: I want to run my own company. I have already started a business and I produce rowing accessories (like jewellery). But I mainly focus on the Chinese market.