Quiet row­ing great to be hon­oured at awards

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

Dick Joyce is one of New Zealand’s great­est Olympians but it’s a good bet most peo­ple in Porirua know lit­tle about him.

The for­mer Hutt Val­ley Row­ing Club mem­ber, who now lives in Porirua, is one of only nine New Zealan­ders to have won two Olympic gold medals. In 1968 he and an­other Hutt Val­ley rower, Ross Collinge, were in a gold medal-win­ning coxed four at the Mex­ico Games.

Four years later, he earned sport­ing im­mor­tal­ity by be­ing part of the win­ning eight at the Mu­nich Olympics.

Along with the 1500 and 100 me­tre races in ath­let­ics, the row­ing eight is con­sid­ered a glam­our Olympic event.

Tele­vi­sion cov­er­age of Joyce and the other row­ers get­ting their gold medal in Ger­many sits be­side David Kirk hold­ing the 1987 Rugby World Cup and John Walker strid­ing to Olympic glory as our most cher­ished sport­ing images.

So how is it that Joyce has slipped un­der the radar, de­spite rep­re­sent­ing Hutt Val­ley and run­ning a suc­cess­ful busi­ness in Seav­iew for nearly 30 years?

He told us that although he is im­mensely proud of his two gold medals he has never sought pub­lic­ity and is happy to have a low pro­file.

With the 40th an­niver­sary of the eights’ win rapidly ap­proach­ing, that is about to change.

Hutt City Sports Awards chair­man Ken La­ban says plans for the 2012 awards night on May 3 in­clude hon­our­ing Joyce and Collinge, as well as bowler Peter Horne, who won gold at the 1988 Par­a­lympics in Seoul.

Joyce achieved suc­cess with the Hutt Val­ley club, which broke away from Pe­tone Row­ing Club.

Be­cause he was not part of the bet­ter known Pe­tone club, his link to the Hutt has largely been over­looked.

Welling­ton has al­ways re­garded him as a Hutt Val­ley per­son and he says that as time has passed, peo­ple re­mem­ber the im­age of the eight get­ting their medals but have for­got­ten the names.

His record as a rower has to be one of the best of any elite sports­man this coun­try has pro­duced.

‘‘I pulled on the New Zealand sin­glet 52 times and in that time I got a third place three times, sec­ond place three times and the rest I won. When you put it that way, it is a pretty im­pres­sive record.’’

The 1968 four and 1972 eight were in­ducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the eight won two New Zealand Sports­man of the Year awards.

Olympic great: Dick Joyce won two Olympic golds rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand in row­ing. He is wear­ing the blazer he wore in 1972 as part of the win­ning eight.

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