Olympics: Double scullers say they're on track for gold this time

By David Leggat

Peter Taylor and Storm Uru. Photo / Mark Mitchell.
Peter Taylor and Storm Uru. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

Storm Uru and Peter Taylor vividly remember the disappointment of missing gold on their home waters of Lake Karapiro at the world championships two years ago.

Finishing third wasn't part of the plan. So last September the lightweight double scullers put a plan in place to make sure nothing was left to chance in their quest for Olympic gold in London next week.

And right now, when they stick their oars in the waters of Dorney Lake, they believe they've dotted i's and crossed t's and are primed to go.

"The plan was very comprehensive, it was exactly what we needed to do and it was a tough summer making the changes to get where we wanted to be," said Uru, who sits in the bow seat.

They won silver in their opening world cup regatta at Lucerne a few days after arriving in Europe in May, to the eyebrow-raising young French pair Jeremie Azou and Stany Delayre, before winning at Munich last month, pipping the French by .19s.

The key point out of that was on both occasions they creamed British pair, defending Olympic champions and event favourites Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, who finished last in both races, including 9s adrift of the New Zealanders in the final pre-Olympic hitout at Munich. Uru, at 27 the younger of the pair by a year, said the training block between Lucerne and Munich proved the trick.

"We nailed it and since then have kept on an upward trend, ticking off all those things we said we needed to do."

Technique is key, Uru pointing to the quality in the field and the need to be as close to perfect as possible.

When they raced at the Beijing Olympics, they missed out on the A final, but won the B consolation. Uru also made a personal discovery there.

"I thought experience was overrated then, but coming into this regatta the biggest thing I've learned over the last four years is communication."

Uru, Taylor, coach Calvin Ferguson and their support people have gone over every eventuality they could strike on the water next week.

"We've talked about what sort of pressure we could be under, what will happen if this or that goes wrong, so no matter what situation we're in we'll be comfortable."

They aren't being fooled by Hunter and Purchase's lack of early-season form, either. "We know they are very good at getting it right on big days. They're going to be quick, and on their home water," said Uru.

Azou and Delayre came from nowhere at Lucerne and Uru believes there are "eight or nine really top boats and that's going to make the preliminary rounds tough".

And yet Southlander Uru and Wellingtonian Taylor, world champions in 2009, third and second behind the Brits at the past two worlds, give the impression they feel they're in a good space.

"We are exactly where we wanted to be, which is a cool feeling, but we can't control how everyone else is going," said Uru. They'll get an inkling when racing begins.

- NZ Herald

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