Last Word: Olivia Loe

New Zealand's two-time world champion

2 minute read
Words Benedict Tufnell
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 06.07.20

Olivia Loe, 28, from Canterbury New Zealand is a two-time world champion in the women’s double scull, most recently winning the world champs last summer in Linz with doubles partner Brooke Donoghue. With the lockdown in full swing, Row360 caught up with Olivia in April.

Photo Olivia Loe (stroke), with partner Brooke Donoghue win the W2x final; World Rowing Championships, Linz, Austria. 2019.
Credit Bene
How are you filling your time during the lockdown

We’re still in full time training at this stage so that takes up most of the day. Preparing, completing, and recovering from each session. I’m enjoying spending more time in the kitchen cooking new things for my flat. I’ve been reading and puzzling. I also just binged watched all six seasons of Downton Abbey.

What are you most looking forward to doing when it’s all over

This is a conversation we’ve had often in my bubble and our answer is always the same; seeing friends and family. 

What has been your proudest moment in your career? 

Probably being named in my first NZ elite crew after spending so many years on the fringes. To finally break into the team felt like the accumulation of a lot of hard work and a lot of patience. Becoming a World Champion later that year was a huge moment for Brooke [Donoghue] and I as well.

What has been your biggest disappointment? 

I think my biggest disappoints have been missing out on crew selections when I felt like I was capable of making them. To this day, national team trials and selection are some of the most stressful times of year and the reason why making my first team selection felt like such a relief.

Photo Olivia Loe
Credit Steve McArthur
What is your greatest strength as a rower? 

I’m tough. I’m not afraid of the grind or working hard. It’s the foundation my rowing career is built on. Not letting anyone out-work me. Technically speaking I’d say my ability to hold the same stroke pattern from steady state to race rate.

What would you like to be better at as a rower? 

I’m not a morning person which makes me a sucker for punishment, because rowing has us up early 6 days a week. It takes a lot for me to get up and going for the first session of the day.

What is your favourite training session

We do a whole squad session that’s made up of max speed 250m pieces, with quite a substantial break in between each. It’s fun because you just go all out and its over before you get too tired. 

And your least favourite

Probably any threshold session.

What do you like to do when not rowing

I spend a lot of time with my friends and family. Most of these times tend to be based around coffee, food or drinks. Spending time in the kitchen. I also love skiing, getting out on the boat, or getting away when training allows for it. I’m from the South Island, so I do like to get back there when I can. 

Do you have any unusual talents? 

Not anything unusual but I do back myself in the kitchen. I make a good pretzel bun for burger night.

Best piece of advice you have been given for rowing? 

Smoother is faster. And don’t expect to execute anything in a race that you haven’t practiced a hundred times before in training.