GB cox wins Olympic gold
BRITISH ROWING cox Zoe De Toledano was this week riding on the crest of the wave after steering her team to gold in the women’s eights event at the Olympic Youth festival in Sydney.
The 19-year-old, who led the team to bronze at last year’s Junior World Championships, put her motivational skills to good use to urge her crew over the finish line more than two seconds ahead of nearest rivals New South Wales.
“Confidence was high going into race as some of the team won gold in previous events,” De Toledano told JC Sport. “I knew we had to perform well as other countries were watching us and trying to follow our lead.
With temperatures in excess of 40 degrees each morning, the Finchley resident was “thankful we travelled to Australia two weeks in advance to acclimatise.”
She also revealed how a strong Australian support helped create a fantastic atmosphere for the event, held on the Penrith International Regatta, the course used for the 2000 Olympics. “The Australians turned out in force and were extremely vocal in their support of various crews,” she reported.
“Thankfully there were several British Olympic Association officials watching in the stands and their terrific support certainly helped.”
Currently in the first year of a psychology degree at Oxford Brookes University, De Toledano, who coaches the junior under-18 squad at nearby St. Edwards Private Secondary School, enjoyed competing with some of her “best friends”.
“Many of the team had raced together including some of my best friends which was an added bonus. We were encouraging one another in the changing room before the race and in the build up as some of the group had never been so far away from home.”
With the crew expanding vast amounts of energy in each race, “a good cox has to get everything out of their crew, especially in the final 500 metres when they are all exhausted.”
A keen musician and dancer, De Toledano is now looking to establish herself in Britain’s under-23 squad and achieve national success with her university rowing team.
“I am still learning the many different ways to motivate of my crews, but the good thing is I am young and have plenty of time to develop and be successful.”