Former Olympians now happy to be boat holders

Angie and Mark Edmond at Lake Ruataniwha last weekend, carrying out some boat holding. PHOTO:...
Angie and Mark Edmond at Lake Ruataniwha last weekend, carrying out some boat holding. PHOTO: SHARRON BENNETT
In sport, you can find previous champions in the most peculiar of places.

Mark and Angie Edmond have gone to the very top of their sport — the Olympic Games no less.

But that does not stop them returning to the very essence of sport — volunteering.

And it does not get more basic, although it is still very important, than holding the boats at the start of a rowing race.

Angie represented New Zealand in the luge at the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002.

Mark Edmond was also at Salt Lake City, where he lined up in the two-man and four-man bobsled event.

But that was a while ago and the couple now live in Wanaka with their five children.

Mark is a doctor while Angie home-schools the children.

The oldest two — Isabella (15) and Sam (13) — have joined a learn-to-row programme at the Wanaka Rowing Club.

That led the family to Lake Ruataniwha last weekend as the club was providing the boat holders at the South Island championships.

The Edmond family volunteered for the roles and were out in force.

The family’s oldest four children were all involved. Only Georgia (6) missed out, while the parents looked on and helped out.

Boat holding has volunteers lying down on their stomach holding the boats for a few seconds before the start.

Angie said it was one of those events by which you could not help but be impressed.

"I was not sure about Luke, who is 9, but he loved it. It was really neat to watch. Just watching the athletes working so hard, really giving their all," she said.

"It was quite uplifting, really — a good vibe. This is what sport is all about. I did luge for 11 years so it is good to give something back to sport.

"Mark — he got the competitive juices going again and by the end of the weekend was looking to get in a boat. You never lose that, really."

She said the children never tired of the job, with a race going every four minutes and with more than 130 races on the first day it was a job which never stopped, starting at about 7.30am and going through to about 5pm on a very hot day.

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