Athlete of the Month – April 2017
Hedvig Rasmussen is one half of Denmark’s women’s pair that won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after seemingly coming out of nowhere. Following success in the tropics of Rio, Rasmussen has been spending the freezing Danish winter training indoors and is looking forward to racing for her first World Championships medal in 2017.
World Rowing: Why did you choose rowing?
Hedvig Rasmussen: I went to a regatta to watch my older brother who was a part of a talent project. Then I was approached by a coach who thought I could become a good rower because of my size. I tried rowing for a couple of weeks and became fond of it.
WR: You just missed out on a medal at the World Championships in 2015. How did it feel to make it onto the podium at Rio?
HR: Going into the regatta our goal was to row the final and we would have been more than satisfied with that. Standing on the podium with Anne (Andersen) was therefore surreal and one of the happiest moments of my life.
WR: Has winning a medal made you more recognised in Denmark?
HR: Rowing is a very small sport in Denmark and mainly gets attention every fourth year at the Olympics, so unless I’m in a rowing boat no one recognises me.
WR: Are you able to train full time?
HR: No, I was rowing full time in the six months leading up to Rio but normally I study political science at the University of Copenhagen. It can be difficult to combine those two but with good scheduling and flexibility it works out fine.
WR: Where do you train?
HR: I train on Lake Bagsværd just outside Copenhagen or at my home club, Danish Students Rowing Club, located at the Copenhagen Harbour.
WR: What sort of training have you been doing in the off season?
HR: Lake Bagsværd froze during the winter, so I rowed on the erg, sat on the bike and lifted weights. This year I also started cross-country skiing which I find both challenging and fun.
WR: What is your main goal this year?
HR: My main goal this year is the 2017 World Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton.
WR: How do you prepare before a race?
HR: I always row a bit on the erg a couple of hours before the race. Then I’ll find some place quiet to sit and relax and think the race through.
WR: Is there any aspect of rowing that you struggle with?
HR: I have some technical issues that I struggle with every year. It’s always the same and correcting them seems to be very difficult for me.
WR: What is your favourite place to row and why?
HR: As long as the water is flat and the temperature is above 10 degrees I will not complain.
WR: How do you relax?
HR: I’m napping. Everything seems easier after a nap.