Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase Olympic Gold medalists


Last week capped off the ‘Head’ racing season in UK rowing with the National Schools Head and Junior Sculling Head. And to mark the transition to ‘Regatta’ season, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, where I volunteer as a coach as chair of the support group, celebrates with its annual rowing dinner. The athletes had plenty to be proud of securing 2 victories and 5 other medals. In fact, the boys squad won the Victor Ludorum Prize for the top performing school.

More in the next post on Team Borlase’s embracing failure which helped them to such achievements. But today, I first wanted to pick up on the comments of our very inspiring quest speaker at the dinner, Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Hunter. He took us through his odyssey of coming in ‘last’ in the 2004 Olympics to his commanding gold medal victory in 2008 at Beijing….

“To understand that you’re not good enough at something is a tough thing to get you head around. So I came back [from 2004] and made some changes. I learned that many people had done bad but had come back with even more determination. As far as I knew, no one had ever come back from coming last…When people have bad times, they often look to blame people around them. I looked at myself and I realised that I had to become a better individual.”

These words should ring familiar to Team Borlase, especially the current Year 11 girls, who had their own ‘kick in the seat of the pants moment’ a few years back.