Athlete of the Month – February 2020
Two time World Championship gold medalist, Olivia Loe, has tried many other sports but rowing clearly suits her. The 28-year-old New Zealand double sculler has been busy with training and racing back home but is looking forward to getting back onto the world stage in the build up to Tokyo.
World Rowing: Congratulations on winning the World Championships last year. How do you feel going into Tokyo as the reigning champions?
Olivia Loe: Thanks. Brooke and I don’t feel like we are going into Tokyo as reigning champions. Although we had a successful year we have both never raced at an Olympic Games so it’s a new and exciting challenge for us. We feel like it’s a whole new ball game, we have to go out and earn our place in each race.
WR: What are you doing for the NZ rowing season (which is happening now)?
OL: We spend a lot of summer as a whole women’s squad focusing more on our individual work-ons and getting a lot of kilometers done on the water. We also have some domestic racing which gets pretty competitive as we head towards selection time.
WR: Why rowing?
OL: I started rowing at St Margaret’s College and it was probably my sister, Jess, that first got me into the sport. She was already on the team, she was good, and appeared to be having fun so I signed up. It was being part of a big team and always being surrounded by friends that kept me there.
WR: Did you ever do other sports?
OL: I grew up in a very sport orientated family so there were very few sports I didn’t try growing up. Equestrian, rugby and rowing were the sports that I competed in through high school
WR: You're on the small side for a rower - have you had to make adjustments because of that - or have other people had to adjust their attitudes?!
OL: I guess if you hear anything enough you start to believe it. And throughout age group teams I definitely believed that my height held me back a lot. I heard the word “potential” thrown around a lot. Specifically my lack of it. I learnt that I had to use what strengths I felt I did have to win races. And then as I got older I guess potential became less relevant and it became more about who was fastest.
WR: Can you tell us about the dynamic in your double?
OL: We like to keep it pretty simple. Honest communication, train hard, tick all the boxes.
WR: When is the best time to be a rower?
OL: Tapering and Race week.
WR: What is the most challenging aspect of being a rower?
OL: Back to back big mileage weeks - the subsequent laundry.
WR: What is your next big goal and what are the steps to getting there?
OL: Tokyo 2020. We’ll be racing at the World Cup II and III in the build up.
WR: What do you do when you are not rowing?
OL: I try get home to Christchurch as often as possible. I have a niece Josie – she’s pretty cute so I like to hang out with her. That’s also where my family and a lot of my ‘non-rowing’ friends live. They provide me with some balance and perspective in life
WR: What do you do to have fun?
OL: Hanging with friends. Going out for dinner or drinks. Cooking, I cook often, I love discovering new recipes and find it quite therapeutic. Naps. Reading. Binge watching tv series.
WR: Which athlete do you most admire?
OL: Lisa Carrington. She is a New Zealand kayaker. She has three Olympic medals and I admire her work ethic and discipline.