Mahé Drysdale

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Mahé Drysdale
Mahe Drysdale 20.2.2010 NZ Rowing Champs (117)h.JPG
Personal information
Full nameAlexander Mahé Owens Drysdale
Born (1978-11-19) 19 November 1978 (age 42)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Height200 cm (6 ft 6 12 in)[1]
Weight99 kg (218 lb; 15.6 st)[2]
Spouse(s)Juliette Haigh

Alexander Mahé Owens Drysdale MNZM (born 19 November 1978)[3] is a New Zealand rower. Drysdale is the current Olympic champion and five-time World champion in the single sculls. The name Mahé comes from the largest island in the Seychelles.[4]

Born in Australia to New Zealand parents, Drysdale attended Tauranga Boys' College in Tauranga, New Zealand, then the University of Auckland.[5] He began rowing at university at the age of 18. He gave up rowing to concentrate on his studies, but began rowing again after watching fellow New Zealander Rob Waddell win gold at the 2000 Olympic Games.[6]

Drysdale is a member of the West End Rowing Club in Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand, and Tideway Scullers School, London.

World Championships[edit]

Drysdale began competing at World Cup level in 2002, in the New Zealand coxless four. After the 2004 Olympic Games, in which his New Zealand crew finished fifth in the final, Drysdale switched to the single scull, winning the 2005 World Championships at Gifu, Japan, despite having broken two vertebrae in a crash with a water skier earlier in the year.[7]

He successfully defended his title in 2006 at Dorney Lake, Eton, England, in 2007 at Munich, Germany, and again in 2009 in Poznań, Poland, holding off Britain's Alan Campbell and Czech Republic's Ondřej Synek. At the 2009 World Rowing Championships he also beat his own World Record in the single and reduced it to 6:33.35.[8]

Olympic Games[edit]

At his first Olympic Games, in 2004, Drysdale was part of the New Zealand coxless four team that finished fifth.[9]

Drysdale was officially selected as New Zealand's Olympic heavyweight sculler for the Beijing Olympics on 7 March 2008. He was also chosen to carry the flag for New Zealand during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony.[10] Unfortunately for Drysdale, a severe gastrointestinal infection in the week before his final saw him off form[11] and he was only able to win the bronze medal in the men's single scull. The gold and silver medals went to Olaf Tufte from Norway and Ondřej Synek from the Czech Republic, respectively. Clearly suffering from his illness, after his race Drysdale was carried by life raft and then moved to a waiting ambulance. He was also seen vomiting. He was, however, able to stand to be awarded his medal.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics Drysdale won the gold medal in the men's single sculls, despite throwing up the morning of race day due to nervousness.[12] He has since been dethroned, and had to settle with silver in the world championships leading up to the 2016 Olympics, each time bested by the Czech Ondřej Synek, who won the WC in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Drysdale successfully defended his Olympic men's single sculls title, taking the gold medal over Croatia's Damir Martin. The race was decided by a photo finish, with Drysdale edging out Martin by half a bow ball.[13] In November 2016, Drysdale announced that he would take a break from rowing in 2017.[14] He returned to the New Zealand squad at the end of 2017 with a view of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.[15]

New Zealand national championships[edit]

Drysdale won the gold medal six times in single sculls at the New Zealand National championships through 2010.[16] In 2011, he won the silver medal in single sculls at the 2011 New Zealand National Rowing Championships at Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel, losing to Nathan Cohen by two lengths.[16] He reclaimed the national title in 2012, as Cohen took second.[17] He did not compete in 2013.[18]


Drysdale won the 2006 Sportsman of the Year award and took out the supreme Halberg award.[19] He was again voted Sportsman of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2016, and is the only New Zealander to have won the award more than three times.[20] He won the University of Auckland Young Alumnus of the Year Award in 2007,[21] and was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing in the 2009 New Year Honours.[22] Drysdale won the Sportsman of the Year award in 2008.[23]

Canoe polo[edit]

Drysdale has also represented New Zealand in canoe polo as a junior.[4] He represented NZ in an under-18 team that toured to Fiji. Later he was a NZ under-21 representative that toured to Tonga. In 1999–2000 he was executive of NZ Canoe Polo.

Personal life[edit]

Drysdale married fellow rower and Olympic bronze medallist Juliette Haigh in September 2013.[24] They have one daughter, Bronte, born in October 2014.[25]

Drysdale is cousin to Rose Keddell, a member of the New Zealand women's hockey team.[26]


  1. ^ "Mahe Drysdale". New Zealand Olympic Committee. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Mahe Drysdale". International Rowing Federation. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Mahe Drysdale". New Zealand Olympic Committee . Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b Rattue, Chris (10 September 2005). "Rowing: Stubborn streak runs in Drysdale's blood". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Chch City Libraries". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Halber sports awards biography pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. ^ Geenty, Mark (6 September 2005). "Rowing: From numb to sensation". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  8. ^ "World Best Times". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Mahe Drysdale at". Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  10. ^ AP, Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald staff (8 August 2008). "Drysdale, Beijing ready for big night out". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 August 2008.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ The New Zealand Herald staff (16 August 2008). "Back from the brink and bound for glory". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  12. ^ Drysdale starts golden day throwing up
  13. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: Mahe Drysdale powers to back-to-back single sculls golds". 14 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray put golden partnership on hold". The New Zealand Herald. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  15. ^ Anderson, Ian (23 November 2017). "World champions remain absent". The Press. p. B8. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Cohen takes national sculls crown off Drysdale". TVNZ. 19 February 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  17. ^ Kashka Tunstall (18 February 2012). "Rowing | Drysdale reclaims national title at Karapiro..." Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  18. ^ "World Rowing • News". 26 February 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  19. ^ NZPA (15 February 2007). "Drysdale captures supreme Halberg Award". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  20. ^ Burgess, Michael (9 February 2017). "Lisa Carrington queen of sport with Halberg Awards wins". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award winners – Mahé Drysdale". University of Auckland. Retrieved 7 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "New Years Honours 2009". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  23. ^ Worsley, Dave (12 December 2008). "Auckland Sporting Excellence Awards - Equal Winners". InfoNews. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Wild, woolly weather no wedding dampener". The New Zealand Herald. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  25. ^ Maas, Amy (5 October 2014). "Oarsome baby girl". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  26. ^ Rowan, Juliet (14 March 2015). "Hockey: Gemma Flynn, Rose Keddell and Sam Charlton". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 14 August 2016.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Michael Campbell
Halberg Awards – Supreme Award
Succeeded by
Valerie Vili
Preceded by
Michael Campbell
New Zealand's Sportsman of the Year
2006, 2007
Succeeded by
Scott Dixon
Preceded by
Scott Dixon
Succeeded by
Richie McCaw
Preceded by
Richie McCaw
Succeeded by
Scott Dixon
Preceded by
Kane Williamson
Succeeded by
Tomas Walsh
Preceded by
Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell
Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee
Succeeded by
Silver Ferns