Race-day motivation


Before the [World Championship] final, Harry said to me, what do I have to do to motivate you, to focus you, on the race for the final.

David Lindstrom


Occasionally, the stick

Harry still liked to do the runs and the sprinting after rows, which I didn’t. And occasionally he hit me with a stick, but… on the shores of Sylvensteinseee in Bavaria. 

But that didn’t worry us and but because we had been around a while and it was getting near the end of our rowing international career, we knew what we had to do. 

So we basically led the charge, to the extent, when we stayed in Amsterdam [1977 World Championships], I had the guys very regimented, and like we would be the first there for breakfast in this hotel, and we’d be the first on the course, and we’d be first back down the course. 

And then and one day Harry said we don’t need to go down early today. And I said, ‘Yes, we do’. So all we had at breakfast was the four rowers and Harry’s coxing bag, coaching bag, and we still went down on the first bus, and we were back down and in before anyone else was there. 

And it was just a psychological thing to, particularly against the East Germans. And I remember after the semi-finals, the East German coach came up to me, put his hand on my leg and said, ‘Did you sleep well, Kiwi?’, and I said ‘Like a log’. He was trying to psych me out, the prick.

What do I have to do to motivate you for the final?

Before the final, Harry said to me, what do I have to do to motivate you, to focus you, on the race for the final. And I just said, just tell me there’s someone in the stand that doesn’t think I should be stroking this boat. I was referring to a certain person that used to favour another member of our crew. 

And that’s what he said in the team call. And that just switched me on; I was in the right mode to race and and that’s what we went on and did.

So he had the ability to do that and he had enough intelligence. I think he was a super intelligent man. But he was also a gentle person and, you know, he could talk about life in general and other things like that, and share things like that. Because I’m, as people know me, I’m a fairly straight shooter and honest sort of person, so I’ll say what I think. And and that didn’t worry, Harry – he could relate to that.

About this Contributor

David Lindstrom

Rowing Coach

I have been involved in rowing most of my life. My father coached the winning New Zealand four in Mexico [1968 Olympic Games], assistant coach to Rusty Robertson, and he coached us, assistant coach, at Munich [1972 Olympic Games].
David Lindstrom

How I Met Harry

Born 1948, My first association with Harry was in 1977. I was picked as stroke of the New Zealand four which went on to win a silver medal in Amsterdam [1977 World Championships]. And Harry, after a few, probably a few weeks, three or four weeks, basically said to us, 'This is my first time with the senior crew; I don't know whether I can contribute much more'. And we quickly replied, saying, Harry, you're our fifth set of eyes. So we are a team of five, coxless boat, and, and that's the way we moved. And time went on, and the boat initially was a reasonably average boat. But then, because we had failed the year before - when I say failed, at Montreal [1976 Olympic Games], we got a fourth and we really should have been up there for second - we were very determined that we were only going [to Amsterdam] if we could produce a fast boat. And even at the last minute, before we left New Zealand, I wasn't happy with the way we were going. But the guys said 'we're going', so we went. And then, of course, the first regatta, I was in the stroke seat in Munich, and we won. And from then on it just went... it got better and better. And, but we worked together as a very tight unit of five.

Career highlights

Professional Experience

Coached by Harry Mahon

1972 Olympic Games, Munich - 6th in the Men's 4+

1976 Olympic Games, Montreal - 4th in the Men's 4+

1977 World Championships, Amsterdam - Silver medal - Men's 4+

1978 World Championships, Karapiro - Bronze medal - Men's 8+

David Lindstrom

Race-day motivation

Before the [World Championship] final, Harry said to me, what do I have to do to motivate you, to focus you, on the race for