Rob Waddell ONZM is known as New Zealand’s only Gold Medallist at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and as a key part of the Emirates Team New Zealand Sailing Crew in San Francisco in 2013. He has a long list of achievements in these sports and also off the water.
In 1995 he burst onto the New Zealand rowing scene as the youngest person ever to win the single sculls title at the New Zealand Championships – he did this as a novice sculler. The following two years, Rob won the World championships in Germany and Canada breaking records on the water. His rowing career was topped off by Olympic Gold at Sydney 2000.
It’s these stellar performances and his personal attributes that led to his selection as the Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Olympic team where he led them into the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, followed by the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
As Chef de Mission, Rob leads the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. This leadership role sees Rob responsible for setting standards of excellence, overseeing the planning and preparation of the games management teams and ensuring the athletes and their NSOs have what they need to achieve within the complex Olympic and Commonwealth Games environments.
Rob was the first recipient to win the Sportsperson of the Year Supreme Halberg Award for three consecutive years, a feat only shared by one other person.
In a less public arena, Rob has a number of other interests including a business degree with Honours and he is co-owner/manager for his own thoroughbred agistment business in Cambridge.
Rob has also given generously of his time for two charitable trusts – he is former chair of the Home of Cycling trust which is a $30 Million national sporting centre in the Waikato and well as being a trustee for Te Awa – a significant regional cycle way alongside the Waikato river.
Rob has been a key part of three Americas cup sailing teams, culminating in the nail biting performance that Emirates Team New Zealand produced in the final of the 2013 Americas Cup.
Rob attributes his motivation and work ethic, as much to his country upbringing in Piopio where his playground included the steep hills of the family sheep and cattle farm, his selection for the local Roller Mills Rugby team and later a homemade gym in his father’s woolshed.
He is now married to Olympian Sonia Scown and is a devoted father to their children. Rob is a multi-talented New Zealander, sportsman, family-man and entrepreneur. Rob is an excellent role model who has clearly demonstrated the benefits of applying his management and planning skills and what can be achieved through preparation, training and determination.