Olympic gold medallists Phillip Wilson and Dan Williamson have been added to the New Zealand Rowing team for the Paris Olympics next month.

Wilson and Williamson were in the Men’s Eight that won in Tokyo three years ago.

They now have the opportunity to continue New Zealand’s outstanding record in the Coxless Pair.

New Zealand has missed qualifying for the six-boat final of the men’s or women’s pair just once in the previous five Olympics. There have been six medals, including three gold.

“We walk in the footsteps of some of the greats and in that sense, it is very special,” Williamson said of their selection.

“But just thinking about the success had in this boat class won’t get us anywhere, it’s now up to Phil and I, our coaches and physiologists, to figure out what works best for the two of us. We take great inspiration from those that have come before us and are motivated by the fact it’s been done before.”

Wilson and Williamson’s addition to the team follows a selection process against fellow squad members Ben Taylor and Campbell Crouch. Both crews raced at the recent World Cup regatta in Poland, where Wilson and Williamson won a bronze medal.

“Having your seats opened up for selection really just adds fuel to the fire,” said Williamson. “If anything, the last few weeks have really taught us how to manage external distractions while staying internally focused, a skill that will definitely come in handy during the Olympics.”

The selection of Wilson and Williamson brings the number of New Zealand crews competing in Paris to nine.

“It makes me very proud to be able to represent my country on the biggest sporting stage for a second time,” said Wilson. “I think of the family and friends that were stuck at home during the last Olympics and this time around they will be there in the stands. It will make it that much more special to have them there.”

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PHIL WILSON AND DAN WILLIAMSON racing at World Rowing Cup III. Photo: Art of Rowing. 

NZOC chief executive Nicki Nicol said Wilson and Williamson’s experience would be invaluable to the team and she looked forward to watching them compete at another Games.

New Zealand Team

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) - Emma Twigg

Women’s Double Scull (W2x) - Lucy Spoors, Brooke Francis

Women’s Lightweight Double Scull (LW2x) - Jackie Kiddle, Shannon Cox

Women’s Coxless Pair (W2-) - Alana Sherman, Kate Haines

Women’s Coxless Four (W4-) - Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors, Jackie Gowler

Men’s Single Scull (M1x) - Tom Mackintosh

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) - Jordan Parry, Robbie Manson

Men’s Coxless Pair (M2-) - Phillip Wilson, Dan Williamson

Men’s Coxless Four (M4-) - Matt Macdonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich, Oliver Maclean

The following athletes have also been selected to the Games Team as an AP Athlete or Non-Travelling Reserve in the following events:

 

Men’s AP Reserve:           Ben Taylor

 

Men’s Non-Travelling Reserves:

  • M2- & M4- Campbell Crouch
  • M2x Ben Mason
  • M2x Flynn Eliadis-Watson

 

Dan Williamson bio

Dan Williamson will be attending his second Olympics, rowing in the Men’s Coxless Pair. He won an Olympic gold medal as part of the New Zealand Men’s Eight at Tokyo 2020.

The crew's journey to, and victory at, Tokyo was nothing short of remarkable. The eight originally missed out on qualification but secured their spot at the ‘last chance regatta' in Switzerland in May, 2021. They won the regatta and returned to New Zealand where they were required to undergo two weeks of managed isolation in individual hotel rooms, just over a month out from their departure to Japan.

Williamson was the youngest member of the eight at just 21-years-old. He is a graduate of Yale University, where he won the college’s most prestigious sporting honour, the William Neely Mallory Award.

 

Phillip Wilson bio

Phillip Wilson will be attending his second Olympics, rowing in the Men’s Coxless Pair. He won an Olympic gold medal as part of the New Zealand Men’s Eight at Tokyo 2020. The crew's journey to, and victory at, Tokyo was nothing short of remarkable. The eight originally missed out on qualification but secured their spot at the ‘last chance regatta' in Switzerland in May, 2021. They won the regatta and returned to New Zealand where they were required to undergo two weeks of managed isolation in individual hotel rooms, just over a month out from their departure to Japan.

Wilson hails from Wellington where he began his rowing at Wellington College. He attended and rowed for Otago University before moving to Cambridge in 2016 after making the U23 squad to compete at that year's world Champs. Wilson won gold in Rotterdam in the men's coxed four. He has been rowing full time in Cambridge since 2016.

 

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor has been selected as a travelling reserve in the New Zealand Rowing Team for the Paris Olympics. He and Phillip Wilson qualified the boat for the Games by placing third in the B Final of the Men’s Pair at the 2023 World Championships in Serbia.

Ben is a former rower at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch. In 2017, he was in their eight that won the prestigious Maadi Cup for the first time. He was also in the St Andrew’s crew that won the Under 18 Coxed Four, known as the Springbok Shield. He joined the Avon Rowing Club after leaving school where he has won numerous national titles.

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Andy Hay

Andy Hay is a freelance producer, writer and rowing coach. He was cox of the world champion New Zealand eight of 1982 and '83. He is NZ Olympian #446.