Zimbabwean rower Stephen Cox on how fishing created a pathway to the Olympic Games

The England-based oarsman recently secured an Olympic quota for Zimbabwe in the men's single sculls at the 2023 World Rowing African Olympic qualification regatta in Tunisia.

Stephen Cox

(2019 Getty Images)
Casting a rod often took precedence over pulling an oar but taking up rowing offered the perfect alibi for Stephen Cox to satisfy his fishing obsession.

More than a decade since taking his first strokes in a row boat at Peterhouse Boys’ School, less than 100km from the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, Cox is set to make his Olympic debut in Paris 2024 with an oar in hand instead of a fishing rod.

Reaching the Olympics will be a culmination of the rekindling of a dream after the British army rower took a five-year hiatus from the sport. The lance corporal recently claimed one of five Olympic quotas for Zimbabwe in the single sculls at the 2023 World Rowing African Olympic qualification regatta in Tunisia.

“I used to obsess over rowing videos as a kid where I would watch races like five times a day. I used to watch legends like Olaf TufteMahé Drysdale, and Andre Sinek head it up,” Cox said from a cold England days after returning from a visit to blazing Harare.

“I thought, ‘Oh gosh, what it would be like to get to that level!’. And to now be on that TV screen maybe for some other kid to start. It’s pretty special to me.”

If selected by his National Olympic Committee, the England-based rower could become only the sixth rower to represent the southern African nation at the Olympic Games in the sport, and it could be second time lucky after he missed out on qualification for Tokyo 2020 (in 2021).

Post published in: Featured

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *