Good advice from an Olympic champion
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.