Drew Ginn transitions to coaching
Australia’s Olympic rowing legend Drew Ginn has announced that he is embarking on a new challenge. Ginn will switch from rower to coach in his new role as National Head Coach – Integration for Rowing Australia.
Ginn, 38, raced at the London Olympic Games in the men’s four finishing with silver. This medal added to his collection of three Olympic golds.
Ginn’s coaching plans have created much interest in the Australian press with the question being whether this move means retirement for the Olympic Champion. But Ginn has been clear to insist that this move into coaching is a transition rather than retirement from competitive rowing.
“I guess to be honest about retirement as an athlete,” says Ginn, “my simple response is that it has not been a major part of my thinking. What I am excited about is what’s ahead and I am going for this role and opportunity with the same level of motivation as before but it’s different. The notion of retirement is not on my mind but it’s obvious this is now my focus. I see this as a transition.”
The role of National Head Coach – Integration, as described in Rowing Australia’s press release, is a new position and is about making sure that there is consistency across Australia’s performance rowing programmes. Ginn “will be part of the wider high performance management team of the National Rowing Centre of Excellence and work under the leadership of National High Performance Director Chris O’Brien, who also was Ginn’s coach over the last three Olympic campaigns.”
Ginn has experience coaching at school and club level as well as being a coach at Scotch College in Melbourne. He has also worked in business as a presenter, mentor and facilitator.
In his rowing career Ginn first made it onto the national team in 1994. At the age of 21 he raced at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games finishing first as a member of the ‘oarsome foursome’. Ginn then headed to the 2000 Sydney Olympics as part of the World Champion men’s pair with James Tomkins. A back injury in the eleventh hour kept Ginn from racing in Sydney and with the severity of injury that meant he may never row again.
In 2002 Ginn defied the odds and made a comeback in the pair with Tomkins. They won the 2004 Athens Olympics. Ginn then partnered with national team sculler Duncan Free in the pair and the duo took gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics despite Ginn again suffering back problems.
Straight after Beijing Ginn had back surgery and in 2011 he set his sights on competing at the London Olympics in his original Olympic Champion boat, the men’s four. In the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, Ginn and his crew had a number of close battles with the reigning World and Olympic Champions, Great Britain. In the Olympic final Ginn’s crew finished second.
After London Ginn made it clear that he was keeping his options open as to whether he would continue through to Rio 2016. His move to coaching makes it clear that being an elite rower is no longer his focus.
Read Drew Ginn's blog Rudderfish here.