Interview starts with Mahe talking about his biking injury.
Mahe Drysdale: It's been bothering me. I've had it strapped right throughout, right throughout today. Once you get into the race it's the last thing you think about, but it has bothered me. But I've been able to train pretty normally through it so that's the main thing. It's just another thing that hurts (laughs); as you get older there's more parts of your body that give you grief, and you soon learn as a rower how to deal with a lot of pain.
Interviewer: (Inaudible ) that was only done once before in 1960 by Murray Halberg (inaudible ) and you've won three golds and a bronze at this regatta. (Inaudible) just, you know, what rowing has done and putting yourself right at the top of the pantheon in the sport.
Drysdale: It's something that, well… probably Beijing was a real disappointment because I thought we were capable of achieving this there, and obviously with one gold and two bronze that was our best ever return. But to come and actually achieve - you know, we had four world champions last year and we've turned that into three gold medals at the Olympics. That's a phenomenal achievement.
For me, having those two crews go before me, watching that double yesterday and then watching the pair just as I was getting on the water, it's quite inspiring. I know I've done exactly the same as what they've done, well, similar training – I train with the men's pair and I know exactly where I stood, and it lifts you to another level because you want to go and achieve, and to be able to go and join that. And hopefully put our sport, we've lifted the New Zealand team in the medal table. It's pretty incredible, and something I'm very proud of. I've been a part of this program for twelve years, the same with Eric. And to see these younger guys achieve the last couple of years, just watching them achieve has been just as good as what I've achieved. That's pretty special.
We've still got two very good chances tomorrow to add to those medals. So hopefully those guys will take some confidence out of what happened today and add to the tally. I think this sport has grown over the years, and just got better and better and there's no reason we can't just keep achieving, and really set rowing as a standard bearer in New Zealand. I think hopefully other sports will look at what we're doing and be able to do the same. It would be great to see New Zealand achieve in many other sports. For me, I've been right through the system and Sparcs introduction in 2005 was a huge part of why we're so good, and why we're starting to achieve on the world stage and obviously it's just getting better and better.
Interviewer: Any special advice from Dick Tonks before you left the pontoon?
Drysdale: No (laughs), he just told me to get in front and hold them off. Pretty typical Dick. He told me I'm in for a hell of a fight, and I was pretty aware of that. I'm not sure he had a huge amount of confidence this time (laughs). He certainly was keeping me on edge. I knew things were good but Synek's been in great form. Ultimately he told me that when I went, make it decisive and hold something in the tank, just in case he comes again at the end. I probably, with 500 to go I just threw everything at it there and knew that that was do or die. If I broke him then I was going to win, if I didn't I wouldn't have anything left for a sprint. That was a decision I made on my own.
Interviewer: The men's pair just spoke very fondly of Dick. What does he mean to you, what does he mean to you over the last few years?
Drysdale: Well, you know, he's the cornerstone of the New Zealand rowing program. He's won an Olympic gold medal at every Olympics since 2000, so he really speaks for himself. There's no other sport in the country that's managed to achieve that. Now our sport over the last four Olympics has brought back six gold medals, so it's a pretty phenomenal record. That's Dick's program. Dick started it all.
When I came into the program there was very little money. We just went out and were very amateur and just did the work, and obviously as I say the funding came on and that's made things a lot easier for us, but he's the man that's lead it all and without him we probably wouldn't be in the position we are today. I appreciate what he's done for me. We've had our ups and downs over the years but this last four years we've really knuckled down. He's allowed me to go and do different things. Obviously my body wasn't able to do what he required me to do, and we found another way. He's someone that saw what I was capable of, and always believed in me and he's a huge part of this.
Interviewer: Even today, did you wonder what if, what if it's just not going to be?
Drysdale: Um, yeah, for sure. It goes through your mind, and you're not guaranteed of anything. I knew that if I raced as well as I could, it was really a battle for gold and silver with Ondrej. You know the other guys were capable of obviously coming through, but I knew that if I was at my peak, Ondrej was the really only one to beat me. But there was a very real possibility that could have happened. And that's probably why I was so nervous this morning.
It was tough and yeah you do think of the what ifs. What if I don't achieve this? I would still be very proud of what I've achieved in my career; it's been a very good career. I've had a lot of comparisons to Kolbe, who's also got five world titles but without winning an Olympic gold medal. That's really the pinnacle of our sport. It was really going and making the most of an opportunity I had and I'm very, very proud of what I've achieved.
Interviewer: (Mention of Murray Halberg, otherwise inaudible) if he can do it, I can do it too. Did that cross your mind today?
Drysdale: Oh very much so, probably the double yesterday that started it. We've done the same programs. That gives you a lot of confidence when you see your teammates winning. Last year in the starting blocks, the National Anthem was playing for the men's pair winning. So it's something that you're very aware of, and it does give you a huge lift and huge confidence, and you want to go out and perform. I know Murray has spoken to us on a number of occasions. Some of his advice has been has been great for something like today even though I was feeling pretty crap this morning. You know, you try to walk around the boat park looking pretty confident and ready to go. I actually walked passed Ondrej's room, and saw him sort of with his head down and sort of realized that he was in a very similar situation to me. I remember one of the things that Murray said to us back in 2004 was, when he was sitting in the warm up room and they were all sitting there together, and he said "I've just got to beat twelve scared men," and you know that was probably some good advice, because you're going through the wringer and you know the competitors are probably doing a pretty similar thing.
Interviewer: You said that in one interview after the race that you are tired. You don't make those decisions now but at what stage do you make those decisions. When do you sit down and realize you're 33 years old and you can't row forever?
Drysdale: Yeah, that's right. I'm going to take a few months off, do a few things. I'll still be rowing, there are a few events I want to do. It's part of the sport. I've taken a huge amount out of the sport, and I love giving back, so I'll be involved with the sport through the next few months, and just really see how it goes. You know it's a big commitment. I've always seen the Olympics as the pinnacle, so any decision I make is going to be a four year decision, not a one or two year decision. I'd say it's unlikely, I have thought about it a little bit, it's unlikely that I'll be at the World Champs next year. But there's a good probability that I'll be in Rio in four years time. But that's, I've got to decide... mornings like this sort of takes things away. And then now an Olympic gold medal, have i achieved everything I want to and is there still that burning desire, and that's what I'll work out over the next few years.
Interviewer: Someone over there might have a say in things too right?
Drysdale: Yeah, exactly! Jule's got to decide what she wants to do, so we'll make those decisions together. I think as well and those bigger decisions, there is is the single where I want to be, or will we look at something else, or a different challenge. It's quite exciting, but there's a lot of things I want to do next year. I know that I want to keep it a possibility that I keep rowing, so that means I'll keep fit. I've got to find some challenges to push me next year. Probably things like an ironman or the coast-to-coast might be things that I go to attack just to give me, show me how to suffer for hours and hours on end so that seven minutes might not seem so bad.
Interviewer: (Question about he and his girlfriend Juliette Haigh both getting medals at the same Olympics Inaudible)
Drysdale: Yeah it is. We live together, we help each other out, and it's fantastic. Now we're both Olympic medalists, we've got eight world titles between us. It's been a pretty successful partnership, and I feel very fortunate that I've managed to meet Juliette through rowing, and that we've had such a successful partnership together.