Kerry Hore, second from right, celebrates with teammates Jane Robinson, Dana Faletic and Amber Bradley after winning the gold medal at the world titles in 2003. Picture: GETTY IMAGESIN 2004 Tasmanian rower Kerry Hore was the youngest member of an Olympic bronze medal-winning quad scull crew in which Victorian veteran Jane Robinson was 12 years her senior.
Twelve years later Hore looks set to be the oldest member of an Olympic quad crew — by 12 years.
It is a quirky change of roles not lost on the 34-year-old who is set to become the first Australian female rower to compete at four Olympic Games.
‘‘I don’t feel it too much,’’ Hore said about being the veteran of the crew.
‘‘It’s pretty amazing to have gone from Athens where I was the youngest member of the crew and Jane was quite a mentor to me at her third Olympics and now I’m in that position and feel I can have a real impact on this crew and that’s really exciting.’’
Hore is not the sort to be satisfied with simply becoming an Olympian, collecting the cool gear and getting the obligatory five-rings tattoo.
She has not only made three Olympic teams, but three finals (for third, sixth and fourth place finishes) and it is the prospect of extending that impressive record that convinced her to continue competing after a troubled 2012 campaign.
And she believes a settled quad scull crew featuring 23-year-old Queenslanders Jessica Hall and Madeleine Edmunds plus Victorian Jennifer Cleary, 22, have the potential to surpass her previous achievements.
‘‘Hopefully fourth time lucky and I get a better coloured medal,’’ she said.
‘‘After London it took me a long time to decide to continue because I was pretty disillusioned by the selection process.
‘‘But I started training down here with Anthony Edwards and when I won the World Cup in Sydney with these girls and just seeing how excited they were and how they responded to what I had to say was fantastic.
‘‘I’ve never been in a crew that laughs so much. We still do the work, but have fun as well. It was not until 2014 that I thought I wanted to do this again.
‘‘I appreciate getting to four Olympics would be an amazing achievement, but I decided to continue on after London because I felt I had unfulfilled business of getting a better result. We can really do something special with this group, I believe we’re capable of finishing first or second.’’
The former Ogilvie High and Friends student said the crew’s performance at this year’s world championships in Aiguebelette, France, convinced her she had made the right decision.
‘‘We had a bad stroke in the final and that blew us into the buoys, but we got back and still qualified for Rio after being so far behind.
‘‘That composure under pressure showed great maturity. Losing an oar in a world championship final and still finishing fifth shows how cool this crew is.
‘‘I think it is at least the equal of our crew in Athens where we had won the world champs the year before. In terms of potential this crew is as good.
‘‘They are all very young so there’s a lot of room for improvement.’’
Twelve years after sharing a world title with fellow Hobart rower Dana Faletic, Hore remains driven to again conquer the rowing world.
Her seven world championship and three Olympic campaigns have instilled an air of belonging that breeds a calmness and authority that her young teammates can only benefit from.
She echoes the sentiments of fellow Tasmanian triple-Olympian Scott Brennan that there is no point attempting to control the uncontrollable.
‘‘I still get nervous, but I am better able to deal with that.
‘‘After a while you know what’s important and are better at dealing with other things whether it’s travel hassles or media commitments or whatever. In London we had a bus driver who did not know where he was going and got lost. You can’t do anything about it so what’s the point getting upset about something you cannot control?
‘‘I’ve seen people get really stressed about things like their uniform being the wrong size, but really as long as you’ve got a suit to row in who cares if your sleeves are a bit too long? It will be good to tell the young girls not to worry about such things. After London I feel well equipped to focus on the important things.
‘‘I’m trying to use experience to get them over the line having been there before and knowing what pressure is like I think I can get a good balance.
‘‘When you’re sitting on a start line, it’s still the same boat, the same oars and the same people, it’s just that it’s part of this big thing called the Olympics Games.’’
A Bellerive-based pharmacist, Hore is training with experienced national coach John Driessen at Huon but is a life member of her native New Norfolk club.
Never one to count her chickens, she has upcoming camps and trials that will determine the team to prepare for Rio in Rowing Australia’s European base in Varese, a short journey across northern Italy from Milan where Hore’s career took off 12 years ago.
‘‘I can remember how much I hoped to make the Athens team so it seems surreal to think I could potentially go to four Olympics and be the first female Australian rower to do that,’’ she said.
‘‘At the moment I’m very much focused on just getting selected, but I would be very proud. I’ve had huge support from the Tasmanian rowing community and my family, so I’m proud and honoured to represent all those people that have helped me along the way.
‘‘My parents keep asking if I’m going to retire, but I’m too stubborn until I get the result I want.’’
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