Thursday was a very special day for many elite Canadian sports athletes that have won Olympic medals. Olympic Gold medallists Jamie Sale, David Pelletier, Pierre Lueders, Derek Porter and Scott Niedermayer, and Olympic silver medallist Jeremy Wotherspoon, were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary. Unfortunately, Lueders did not attend the ceremony because of coaching commitments in Russia.
In my second of a five part series, here is my interview with rower Derek Porter of Vancouver, British Columbia, who won an Olympic gold medal with the men’s eights at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and an Olympic silver medal in single sculls at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
What are you currently up to?
Well. I guess new dad would be my biggest new role. I had a baby on Saturday. That is taking a lot of my energies and thoughts right now. That and being a chiropractor by career in Vancouver. I’ve had a practice there the last ten years. I also try to keep fit by cycling and cross-country skiing, and enjoying life in Vancouver.
Looking back at your rowing career, discuss the challenges of the transition from being part of a team and going to singles.
An interesting transition I guess. I understand not a lot of people do both. They either do one or the other. I guess I was sort of forced into it. A lot of my teammates retired (after Barcelona) and there weren’t going to be rowers around again. Singles seemed like the logical choice. One challenge was the technical element, and the other side was mental. You have to motivate yourself. You don’t have your teammates around you to push you day in and day out, or wait for you at the boathouse in the morning. You have to be ok in the boat for five or six hours. It has to be very self-motivating.
What are your overall comments of former rowing coach Mike Spracklen, who was recently let go by Rowing Canada?
I could talk a long time about Mike Spracklen. I am a pro-Mike Spracklen. He’s been a good inspiration on my career. I owe my gold medal to him. Without him I would not have a gold medal from the Olympic Games in 1992. I can guarantee that. He is a wonderful coach. A tough guy. No doubt about it. There is a lot of stuff going on in the media about it. He is a great coach.
What are your future goals?
Raising a family is obviously the next step in my life, the next chapter. Maybe I’ll get back into rowing and do some coaching in a little bit.