Tokyo Olympics 2020: Mahe Drysdale confident of reproducing golden formula

Mahe Drysdale believes Rowing New Zealand's new selection policy will boost his hopes over winning back his Olympic single sculls berth.

The double Olympic champion (2012, 2016) has returned to his favoured boat, after trying his luck - unsuccessfully - with the men's eight this year.

Since his gold-medal effort at Rio three years ago, Drysdale's individual form has dropped dramatically, with younger rival Robbie Manson taking his seat.

But refreshed and refocused, Drysdale is primed for another run at Olympic glory and with the selectors moving away from a one-off trial race, the 41-year-old believes he has a great shot at booking his spot to Tokyo. 

"I'm ahead of where I expected, which is positive," Drysdale told Newshub. "The key is to build on that and come up from where I am now. 

"The selectors have taken a slightly different view for the whole squad selection. They are trying to keep everyone training hard and not having a peak. 

"We will literally find out the day before the selections are announced.

"They will take a lot more into account than just performance, like trajectory and how people are going. It's about trying to win as many medals as we can in Tokyo."

Drysdale's confidence in his ability to impress the selectors is driven by his pending retirement.

The five-time world champion has made no secret that Tokyo will be the last event of his illustrious career, meaning he can lay everything on the line and forget about the consequences.

"It's quite exciting, just having your final hurrah, making the most of every single day and enjoying that journey. 

"I feel very privileged, having done what I have done, and I'm just trying to end it all on a high.

"It feels different, because you know you have an end date. 

"All the previous Olympics, I have wondered if each would be my last, but this time, this is it. "It's about going out and making the most of the opportunity and seeing what I can achieve.

"You can almost push harder, knowing that you can absolutely empty the tank, knowing you're not going to need anything left come early August."

Robbie Manson, Mahe Drysdale
Robbie Manson, Mahe Drysdale Photo credit: Photosport

Drysdale returned to the water last weekend, losing by a significant margin to Manson, but that hasn't dented his confidence. He believes his track record of peaking for elite competition - and Manson's inability to do the same - gives him a selection edge.

"It's about getting myself in the best position I can and I'm pretty happy where I am eight months out - I'm on a good trajectory, but it's about keeping that going and improving.

"I know I am in a much better spot than this time last year, so it's looking at how far I can get in the next eight months. 

"I can't take into account what anyone else is doing, because I can't control that."

If he was unsuccessful in his single sculls bid, Drysdale told Newshub he would consider shifting to another crew.