The opportunities to excel in more than one sport are few and far between, and in this age of increased professionalism and specialisation, such chances are becoming rarer. But there is one sporting switch that seems to be eminently possible and, in many cases, extremely successful. A swelling number of elite athletes are making the switch from rowing to cycling. The question is, why? What makes rowing and cycling apparently so complementary?
Male and female athletes alike have transitioned from boat to bike very successfully, suggesting that years spent rowing can contribute to cycling excellence. Having worked as an exercise physiologist at British Rowing for 12 years, I have a solid understanding of rowing — and now I want to find out why being good with a pair of oars can equip you well for a career in the saddle, supporting or even enhancing your cycling performance.
Hamish Bond’s national velodrome 4,000m pursuit record and gold medal, following his switch from time trialling (he won TT bronze at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games) to the track, was another exciting twist in the double Olympic rowing champion’s athletic career. Previously half of New Zealand’s dominant men’s coxless pair — undefeated for eight years — the 32-year old has now decided to return to the boat in an attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Bond is not the only example of the successful rowing-to-cycling transition at the highest level. After winning a silver medal at the Athens 2004 Olympics and […]