Rowing: Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale sets high standard for NZ eight

Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale admits his new teammates have already felt the wrath of the old master, as he switches his attentions from single sculls to eights.

Drysdale, 40, has lost his solo berth in the New Zealand squad to up-and-comer Robbie Manson, but last month, was included in the big-boat squad in a last-ditch bid to qualify an eight for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Also in the squad is two-time Olympic pairs goal medallist Hamish Bond, attempting a comeback from a frustrating cycling stint.

Drysdale told The AM Show he was still adapting to the demands of a bigger crew and had already blown up at his teammates in training.

"On Saturday, I had a little outburst, because things weren't going quite how I wanted them to," he admitted. "I just got frustrated with the crew and it probably wasn't the right thing to do.

"When you're by yourself, you can just change it, but when you're an eight, you have to get everyone to change it at the same time.

"We've started at a much higher level than I thought we would. The boys have really bought in and I'm really excited about the opportunities we've got, but there's a lot of work to be done between now and the world championships."

While adapting to a bigger single-oar format presents a huge challenge for Drysdale, having him and Bond on board to set the standard high will be key to the fate of the eight.

"It's so hard to do," Drysdale told The AM Show. "You've got to put nine guys together, they've got to be in sync and everything has to work out on the day. There can't be one guy having a bad day."

New Zealand has a proud tradition in the big boat, winning gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics and a world title 10 years later, but has concetrated on small boats over recent years.

"That's been very successful," said Drysdale. "We've brought home more medals than anyone over the past 12 years.

"With an eight, you're putting all your eggs in one basket and only have one chance. There's a lot more risk involved.

"We've got to be top five this year in qualification or there are nine guys who have no place next year."

Drysdale confirmed Tokyo would be his last Olympics.

Newshub.

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