The third of May marked the end of a nearly nine-year journey for 2017 Men’s Double Scull World Champion John Storey.


Born in Cambridge UK, John struggled at school with reading and writing due to dyslexia. Although he was told at the age of 7, he would never be able to sit an exam, John still managed to excel in Science Maths and Technology subjects.

John was three years into a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Canterbury University before making the NZ U23 team in 2009. At that time there was no option to study engineering extramurally and John put his degree on hold while he pursued rowing, studying business papers through the Prime Ministers Scholarship Programme in his spare time. Following the London Olympic Games, John returned to Christchurch to complete his Engineering degree and it was after his final year project that an opportunity arose to continue the topic as a Masters, then Doctorate Qualification. When asked if John had any advice for rowers who might wish to achieve higher education, he laughed

“Yes, don’t do it!” John then goes on to say:

“Like rowing there were many ups and downs. There were times when the scope of what I had taken on seemed too great, there were other times when a simulation I had been struggling with for weeks finally worked and you get that sense of accomplishment.”

“The final write up was the most challenging part for me. When the first draft of my thesis came back full of red pen, I felt defeated, I was so close to finishing but yet so far.”

“I do think you can apply a similar mindset to study like this as you can with rowing. It is consistency with the effort you put in every day that allows you to achieve your goals.”

John & L



“I am very thankful for the Prime Ministers’ Scholarship programme, it is a great opportunity that every athlete should take up to further their development outside of sport.”

“A special mention of thanks should go to Criss Strange (Performance Life at the time) for having to deal with 10 years of late PM scholarship applications.”

  • John’s research looked into different nasal high flow therapies that can be used to clear carbon dioxide from apnoeic neonates.
  • After his first three years at Canterbury University, John’s study was completely supported by the Prime Ministers Scholarship Programme.

John is now working with Gallagher as a Research and Development Engineer in their Security Department.