Good ad­vice from an Olympic cham­pion

Central Leader - - SPORT - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

Noth­ing cap­tures a child’s at­ten­tion bet­ter than ad­vice from a medal-win­ning Olympian.

New Wind­sor School pupils had a visit from Olympic gold medal win­ning rower Joseph Sul­li­van on May 29.

The rower turned fire­fighter dropped by for an in­spi­ra­tional ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion with stu­dents and teach­ers.

Sul­li­van is one sports­man who proves any­thing is pos­si­ble if you put your mind to it, de­spite what oth­ers might say.

‘‘There’s been a fair share of knock-backs for me,’’ he says.

‘‘When I first showed up for row­ing train­ing [the coach] said: ‘You’re go­ing to be too small for this, you’re not go­ing to be any good’.

‘‘I never liked any­one telling me no.’’

De­spite his small frame Sul­li­van even­tu­ally proved all the crit­ics wrong, surg­ing to an em­phatic win in the 2012 Lon­don Olympics dou­ble sculls with part­ner Nathan Co­hen.

Footage of the race was played back for pupils and teach­ers in the packed New Wind­sor School hall, to huge ap­plause.

Sul­li­van still re­mem­bers how ner­vous he was that day.

‘‘I was so ner­vous I ac­tu­ally threw up,’’ he says. ‘‘At the start of the race all those nerves went and the train­ing kicked in. ‘‘It was like get­ting ev­ery sin­gle birth­day and Christ­mas present all at once.’’

In 2014, af­ter seven years of row­ing, Sul­li­van an­nounced he would be leav­ing the sport to pur­sue a ca­reer with the New Zealand Fire Ser­vice.

Now hav­ing com­pleted his train­ing Sul­li­van is set­tling in well to his new post­ing at Devon­port.

‘‘I just ab­so­lutely love my job now,’’ he says. ‘‘Not ev­ery day is the same and it’s great to pay back to the com­mu­nity be­cause they were a big part of fund­ing our bid for the Olympics.’’

Sul­li­van says rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand in the Olympics was ‘‘prob­a­bly the most spe­cial feel­ing in the world’’.

Ex­cite­ment bub­bles over at New Wind­sor School dur­ing ques­tion time for Olympic gold medal win­ning rower Joseph Sul­li­van.

Pupil Renzo Caw­ley tries his best to squeeze into Joseph Sul­li­van’s row­ing out­fit.

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