Birthdate29 Mar 1997
|M1x||GRE||FB Final||5||07:12.740||View Details|
|M1x||GRE||SA/B 2 Semifinal||6||07:25.380||View Details|
|M1x||GRE||Q1 Quarterfinal||2||06:51.810||View Details|
|M1x||GRE||H1 Heat||1||07:05.550||View Details|
Rising Star – March 2020
Rising Greek rower Stefano Ntouskos has rowed in many different boat classes but a move to the single sculls in 2019 suited him well - he earned silver at the World Under 23 Rowing Championships. Ntouskos tells us about the switch and where his love of rowing began.
I never thought I would row… when I was growing up. It was not until I was 15 years old (doing track and field), when a rowing coach urged me to try rowing. The first time I entered the erg room, I recall hearing rowers screaming from pain and fatigue. It instantly increased my astonishment and simultaneously my cautiousness. I’d never seen something similar in my life. Why would anybody want to do something so demanding, so rough and so painful?
I still row because… over time, I fell in love with this sport. I admired the way this sport was testing the ability to endure great levels of pain and injury in order to succeed. I’ll never forget the text our former coach had hanging on the wall:
“The best rowers are those who have the best physical condition, from all the other athletes. They are as strong as weightlifters and as tall as basketball players. They have the stamina of long distance athletes and the explosive acceleration of a speed cursor. They need the lungs of a climber, a lion’s heart and the self-concentration of a chess player.”
I was forced into a painful environment every time I trained. I didn’t embrace it but I learned to deal with it. Of course, there were times I wanted to quit. To give up. In the end, I knew that there is no easy way out, so I didn’t let pain get in the way.
If I compare rowing in a single scull with rowing in a crew…the way I see it is, racing in a crew could be easier as you can be helped physically and mentally to give it your best. On the other hand, being part of a crew might be stressful, especially when racing. You can’t let your crew down and that is an extra burden. As a single sculler, I believe it is much more difficult in a way as there isn’t someone to ‘have my back’ in or out of the boat. If something goes wrong in the race I know there’s no one to blame but myself and if something goes well I am also the one responsible for that. What I have gained from being alone in the boat is patience and counting on myself. The hard work remains the same either in the single sculls or in a crew.
Senior competitions are on another level to… under 23. You need years of training to be competitive, especially if you want to race as a single sculler. There is not only the single itself that is hard but also the opponents are very strong and tough with a lot of training years and a lot of experience.
The time of day I like to row is…usually the morning, however, the time is not standard because it is defined by the season. The right time for me is when the sun rises and there are moderate conditions meaning not so hot but not so cold as well.
It’s hard to choose a most memorable race because…so many are worth a mention. But, the one that every time comes to my mind was the semifinal of the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 where we raced in the lightweight men’s four. We had only been together as a crew for a week so we were not well prepared. Furthermore, the boat was not ours but we rented it there - so hadn’t practiced in that boat at all. Everything was new to us. In spite of that and against all odds, we managed to get to the final. That was because all four of us were very well trained and never stopped believing in our dream. We had nothing left to fight with, except our spirit and soul. And we did.
My hometown training venue is in… Ioannina and it is a natural lake, located at 470m altitude, surrounded by mountains and one of the biggest Greek national parks. In the middle of the lake there is a residential island. When you row the course, next to you is the city and all around are mountains full of green. Usually the water is very calm and ideal for rowing. This venue was the National Rowing Centre for the Greek Team for years. On September 2019, the European under 23 championships were held there.
My favourite place to race is… Lac d’Aiguebelette, in France. This place is an outstandingly beautiful natural environment. The water is coloured turquoise and it rarely has strong winds, which is a key feature for a rowing course. Finally, the 2015 World Rowing Championships that were held there were very well organised, so I only have nice memories!
I think my rowing dream would be… very common with many athletes at this level. What I am talking about is a medal at the Olympics. I know that it is hard, but I am determined to do what it takes to achieve that.
The things I do when I am not rowing include… spending time with my loved ones who care for me and are always by my side - including my dog. I love listening to music and I am also trying to learn guitar. Another favourite thing that I am doing for a lot of years now is spear fishing.
For fun I…usually do a lot of activities with friends such as: playing football, climbing mountains, watching movies, motorsport events and - last but not least - going out with them.