Ian Wright returns to Swiss Rowing

The Wright Move

2 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 11.11.21

Ian Wright succeeds Edouard Blanc as Switzerland’s new Head Coach. The National Rowing Centre in Sarnen is familiar to Wright as he previously held the same position from 2014 to 2016. Wright’s last spell as Switzerland’s Head Coach culminated with their lightweight four winning an Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016. The New Zealander is due to return in December 2021.

“I have very fond memories of Switzerland and of the work I did at Swiss Rowing and I am happy to return to the National Rowing Centre in Sarnen. I have followed with interest the development in the Swiss Rowing Federation over the last five years. The federation has a good mix of experienced athletes and an up-and-coming younger generation of rowers,” says Ian Wright. With Paris 2024 on the horizon Wright explains the unique challenge of Olympic preparation, “We have one year less to prepare and a limited time to qualify for the Olympics. There are exciting months ahead of us. In this time we have to solve many tasks, train well and smartly and put together new boats”.

During the Tokyo Olympiad Wright coached in the southern hemisphere. Following a successful Rio 2016 he accepted a new role in Canberra, Australia as Rowing Australia’s men’s Head Coach. “I am proud of the achievements from the past five years with the Men’s program at Rowing Australia. An obvious highlight being the gold medal in Tokyo. It has been a tough second half of this Olympiad, which has seen me have extended periods away from my family, longer than usual due to Covid. I am looking forward to now having the opportunity to spend time with my family back in New Zealand”, said Wright of his departure, in a statement in September 2021. Some speculated Wright would find a role within Rowing New Zealand.

Photo AUS M4- Tokyo 2020
Credit Steve McArthur

The New Zealander has international renown and a proven record of coaching success. At Tokyo 2020 the Australian men’s four dominated their opposition and secured an Olympic gold medal, and their sculling counterparts in the men’s quad returned to Australia as Olympic bronze medallists. At 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz, the Australian men did not win any gold medals but the men’s four dominated the early Olympiad winning consecutive world championship titles in 2017 and 2018. Prior to the Swiss lightweight four winning in Rio 2016, Wright’s rowers secured two consecutive European championship titles and won world championships in 2015.

Switzerland’s federation director Christian Stofer applauds their new signing, “I warmly welcome Ian Wright to his former place of work in Sarnen. We know that Ian works very hard for success. Now we have clarity to do the planning work and organise the training operations”. The next step for Swiss Rowing is to determine who will form Wright’s coaching team and support his vision for Paris 2024.

Photo Ian Wright at 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota
Credit Benedict Tufnell