Mostly, Rob is 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.
It's these stellar performances and his personal attributes that led to his selection as the next Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Olympic team and he'll lead them into the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, followed by the Olympics in Rio two years later.
As Chef de Mission, Rob will lead the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. He will be 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.
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 and is a partner in the family business.
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 a Key part of 2 Americas cup sailing teams, more recently in Valencia.
In 2008, with 8 years out of the sport Rob broke the fastest 2000 metre indoor rowing machine time in the world, clocking a time of 5 mins 36.6 secs (5:36.6). He also holds the record for 5000m on the rowing machine with a time of 14:58. This made him the first person to go sub 15min for this distance.
Rob would probably attribute 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 devoted father to their children.
Rob is a multi-talented New Zealander, sportsman, family-man, entrepreneur and most recently, grinder and crusader for Emirates Team NZ in their quest for the Holy Grail.