Medal ceremony for Rob Waddell – Gold, Sydney 2000
The stars were aligning for Rob Waddell in the lead up to Sydney 2000 with World Championship wins in the men’s single sculls in 1998 at Cologne, Germany and in 1999 at St Catharines, Canada. He also won a world indoor title in record time in 1999. These strong results left Waddell heading into to the 2000 Sydney Olympics as heavy favourite.
Despite the pressure, he rowed outstandingly in Sydney, winning his heat and semi-final in fine style. He was in a class of his own in the final, clearing out from the best single scullers around to win by 1.5s in a time of 6:48.90. As New Zealand’s sole Gold medallist from at the Sydney Olympic Games, Waddell was accorded the honour of carrying the New Zealand flag at the closing ceremony.
Waddell’s emphatic victory earned him his third consecutive Halberg Award and he became the first person to win the award in three successive years.