Athlete of the Month - June 2014
Best known for single sculling, steadfastness, distinctiveness and winning Olympic and World Championship medals, World Rowing is proud to present Marcel Hacker of Germany as our Athlete of the Month. The Sydney 2000 Olympic medallist, 2002 World Champion and former World Best Time holder in the men's single sculls, Hacker is celebrating in 2014 as this is his 20th year on the German national team.
World Rowing: Tell us about your first introduction to rowing?
Marcel Hacker: It all started during a festival in Magdeburg on 3 October 1991. The local club provided some ergometers at a promotional stand. I found it pretty interesting, tried it and still continue doing it. This is how it all started.
WR: What do you think made you decide that rowing was the sport for you?
MH: I realised pretty quickly that I wanted to do a water sport. The two options were swimming and rowing. Since you would always get wet swimming and stay dry rowing (but still be surrounded by water) I decided to row.
WR: Was there some turning point that made you think, 'I want to be an elite rower'?
MH: This just came due to the success. I trained with double Olympic champion André Willmes in the quad. This created some sort of competition within the training group. My motivation was to be faster than André. I finally reached this in 1999. I was sitting in the single for the first time.
WR: It's your 20th anniversary of rowing for Germany, tell us about your memories of your first race for Germany at the 1994 World Rowing Junior Championships? What did it feel like to win?
MH: That was in August in Munich. The final was in the afternoon. In the last 250m my only thought was to stay straight..
WR: What is the longest time you've ever been not rowing?
MH: Four weeks of holidays. Apart from that I have always been rowing or training somehow. And this for more than 20 years now.
WR: How about injuries?
MH: One metacarpal bone, one disc, one middle finger, one rib fracture.
WR: Do you have a favourite race?
MH: Henley, I can’t race there as often as I wish I could.
WR: A favourite rowing venue?
MH: Munich. Because I’ve lived close to the regatta venue for six years.
WR: Do you think the standard in the men's single has changed over the years you have been rowing?
MH: Yes, for sure it has changed. Around the year 2000 there were four to five guys, now there are seven to nine good rowers that want to row in the finals.
WR: What about rowing competitions in general. How have they changed since your early days of rowing?
MH: In former times the start preparation and start commands were in French and indicated with a flag. Now it is in English and with automatic start lights.
WR: What's your best 2000m erg score?
MH: I did 5:51.7 this year! That shows that I can still improve at my "young“ age of 37. That is always a motivation for me.
WR: What's your favourite training session? Do you like racing or training better?
MH: Cycling is my most favourite training tool. Races are the best training.
WR: What do you like to do outside of rowing?
MH: Family, cycling, surfing, stand up paddling. We have a piece of land along the Havel. I like relaxing there with my family and recharge my batteries.
WR: Tell us something about you that not many people know about?
MH: I like listening to audio books during long drives. At the moment I really like Marc Uew Kling, his puns and his use of the German languag.
WR: Where are you at present and what are your rowing plans for the rest of the month?
MH: The next four weeks will be busy with training and the World Rowing Cup in Aiguebelette.
WR: What is your current rowing goal for the future?
MH: My goal is the Olympics in Rio 2016. After that we will see. I will stay involved with rowing as a coach. At the moment I am doing a trainer licence course from the German Rowing Federation.