Rob Waddell

Motivation, Inspiration, Goalsetting. Cambridge based. Speaking style: Warm. relaxed, friendly, good use of humour. Olympic legend and New Zealand Chef de Mission to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams.


Rob Waddell is one of New Zealand's all time best athletes. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics Rob took home gold in the single sculls. He was part of the Emirates Team New Zealand team which challenged for the Americas Cup in 2003, 2007 and 2013.

Rob has earned plenty of titles. He's been labelled every thing from a sporting icon to a freak, hero to zero, iceberg grinder, and in 2001 was named an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for his services to Rowing. 

Rob's best known as New Zealand's only Gold Medallist at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. This was the peak of Rob's long list of firsts in the sport of Rowing and Single Sculling. 

In 1995 he burst onto the NZ rowing scene as the youngest person ever to win a single sculls title at the NZ Championships – he did this as a novice sculler. Just one year later he won 6/7 NZ national titles and then came 7th at the Atlanta Olympics. 

The following two years, Rob won the World Single Sculls rowing titles in Germany and Canada breaking records on the water and in indoor rowing. At this time he was also the first recipient to win the Sportsperson of the Year Supreme Halberg Award for 3 consecutive years.

In a less public arena, Rob also completed a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours during this time. He speaks Japanese and has a black belt in Judo. 

Not one to rely on success, Rob faced a fresh challenge in 2001, to trial as a grinder for the then triumphant, but somewhat decimated Team NZ and the rest is history. He has been involved in two challenge campaigns and continues to sail for Team New Zealand globally.

He has been a Key part of 2 Americas cup sailing teams, most recently the nail biting final in Valencia.
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.

In 2008 to the delight and surprise of his many fans Rob announced his return to world rowing after seven and a half years away from the sport. After a series of "down to the wire" competitions with Mahe Drysdale. Although he failed to gain the singles birth for Beijing Rob was selected to contest the double sculls in Beijing.

On May 31, 2008 Rob partnered Nathan Cohen to victory in the double sculls final at a World Cup regatta in Lucerne.

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.

Today when he's not overseas sailing or speaking at a conference Rob is chair of the "Home of Cycling Centre of Excellence" which has just received the selection for 29 million velodrome to be built in Cambridge, Waikato. 

Rob lives in Cambridge, Waikato, with his wife Sonia and their three children.