If success does not come easily, keep trying was the message delivered to teenagers at this year’s Gore Youth Awards by Olympian rower Jade Uru.
Uru, who was born in Invercargill, was a member of the New Zealand men’s four that won the bronze medal at the 2010 World Rowing Championships.
He competed at the 2012 London Olympics in the men’s four and was a member of the men’s quad at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Uru said on Saturday night he had wanted to be a sporting success from childhood.
He tried rugby but realised he was not going to make the All Blacks so he hatched another plan.
“I tried every sport under the sun,” Uru said.
“Mum did a lot of driving.”
He stumbled upon rowing and soon realised he was beating some very good competitors.
But his road to Olympic selection was not easy.
Patience was not his strong point, but he did develop the attribute, along with greater determination.
“All I wanted to do was win.”
At university he managed to bag silver and bronze medals in rowing but not the elusive gold.
He decided to devote a year to improving his performance in order to win gold.
A call from champion rower Hamish Bond halfway through the year changed his life.
The pair made it to two Olympic games.
He thoroughly enjoyed the Olympic experience.
“We had fun at the Olympics – it’s like a playground for young adults.”