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Thursday, 25 April 2019 01:57 pm

Some things stay the same in Kiwi sporting tradition

Logan 400x450The Olympics may have changed since Tim Logan’s day, but Kiwi sporting traditions are likely to still inspire our down-to-earth athletes.

Mr Logan (63) right, of Hataitai, was part of the New Zealand coxed four crew that finished sixth at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Back then, New Zealand Rowing’s tradition of Olympic excellence meant teams competing in Montreal were expected to perform well.

“To not make the final would be a total disgrace.  You’d be hard to come home,” said Mr Logan, who rowed for the Petone club.

He believes such sporting traditions probably give today’s athletes a mental advantage that affects their performance.

He said athletes are probably better mentally equipped than in his day but there are still some gains to be made in that area.

Mr Logan’s own experience growing up alongside Olympic champions affected his attitude to Olympic competition.

He began rubbing shoulders with the rowing elite when he started rowing with the Hutt Valley Club as a schoolboy, soon after club members Dick Joyce and Ross Collinge returned from the 1968 Mexico Olympics with gold medals from the coxed four event.

Mr Logan said it was a down-to-earth environment to kick off in, and it is great to see a similar modesty in the likes of 2016 gold medal rowers Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, and bronze medallist pole vaulter Eliza McCartney.

“It was absolutely awesome that Bond and Murray and Mahe won those medals because it’s so hard to keep winning.

“I thought it was just phenomenal.

“Those guys are not just physically but mentally and technically just fantastic,” said Mr Logan, who was asked to share his memories prior to the Olympics as a guest speaker at the Hataitai Residents Association annual general meeting.

He said the physiological side of sport is more understood than in his day, so athletes are now more knowledgeable about their physical wellbeing.

And while today’s athletes move faster because of advances in equipment, Mr Logan said athletes competed just as intensely forty years ago.

Back then, doping may even have been a factor in Olympic competition.

“In retrospect, there were potentially a lot of people there who were a bit drugged up.

“The East Germans won everything except the two events in the mens’ side.

“There were sort of rumours at the time but I don’t think people were walking round thinking ‘Oh, those guys are drugged, we’ll never beat them.”

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