Rob Waddell is one New Zealand’s most high profile and respected sports people.
Born in Te Kuiti and brought up on a King Country farm, Rob attended boarding school in Auckland where he got his first taste of rowing. At the young age of 14 he was a very unskilled athlete but his lack of ability was overcome by a stubborn determination. Behind the scenes he trained and worked tirelessly to make the schools top crew, gained some height, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1995 Rob burst onto the New Zealand elite rowing scene as a novice sculler when he won the single sculls title at the New Zealand Championships. In the following two years, Rob won the world championships in Germany and Canada – breaking records in the process.
In 1998, while rowing competitively, Rob completed a Bachelor of Management Studies with honours, majoring in marketing and Japanese, at the University of Waikato.
Rob represented New Zealand at three Olympic Games and was New Zealand’s only gold medallist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Following the Sydney Games, Rob received his third consecutive Halberg Award – becoming the first person to win the Sportsperson of the Year award three years in a row.
After taking a break from rowing, Rob took up yachting for Team New Zealand as a grinder. He competed in the 2003 and 2007 America’s Cup campaigns, and was again part of the team in 2013 in San Francisco.
Rob is the co-owner and manager of a thoroughbred agistment business in Cambridge and gives his time generously to charitable trusts. He was chair of the Home of Cycling trust, which fundraised and built the new 32 million dollar Avantidrome in Cambridge. He does a lot of work with the Halberg Trust helping disabled children in sport and is also a trustee for Te Awa – the regional cycleway along the Waikato River.
More recently, Rob led New Zealand’s most successful team ever on foreign ground at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games as Chef de Mission, and will lead the team to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
Determination and a commitment to excellence are common themes throughout Rob’s career - from building a homemade Gym in the farm woolshed in Piopio through to managing a debilitating heart condition during an Olympic Final and recently leading New Zealand’s best sportspeople to some of the biggest sporting competitions in the world.
Rob Waddell travels from New Zealand
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