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Blood, sweat and Rio Gold for Mahé Drysdale on road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

18th July 2016

The hard work of current Olympic champion and five-time World champion rower Mahé Drysdale is proof that Olympians are made, not born.

As the Olympic Games ambassador for POWERADE, the official sports drink of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Mahé is preparing to hit the water in Rio next month in a bid to win his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the single sculls, which would make him the eldest in 116 years to win the title at 37-years-old.

Backed by a significant media investment, the campaign aims to position POWERADE as a catalyst of hydration and inspiration for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Jodie Timmins, POWERADE Brand Manager, said: “POWERADE has been hydrating athletes since it was launched at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and has been helping to do so ever since! Our goal now is to inspire our athletes to perform to their best in Rio.”

Mahé is fronting the POWERADE NZ Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaign where he’ll be seen across billboards, adshels, gym panels, digital and social media. On the 19th July, Mahé is hosting a Q&A session within the POWERADE NZ Facebook page where New Zealanders can ask him questions before he heads to Rio or simply to give him their best.

Kiwis will have the opportunity to be kept up to date with Mahé and other New Zealand athletes through a series of digital billboards and adshels which dynamically update as the NZ athletes’ results come through.

POWERADE has also shot their global TV ad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in New Zealand with local, grass roots athletes hoping to one day emulate Mahé and the other sports people representing NZ in Rio.

And to celebrate 24 years of POWERADE as the official sports drink of the most viewed sports event in the world, POWERADE has released a limited edition Rio Gold flavour.

Mahé is testament that what you put in is what you get out, with his gruelling training regime leading him to become one of the most decorated rowers in the world. He says the right nutrition has played a large part in his success so far.

“I quickly realised that if I wanted to compete at the top level, the training was one thing, but I also needed to be fuelling my body with the right stuff. Pies and chips weren’t going to get me a gold medal and I also needed to look at how I was hydrating.

“The amount of time spent out in the boat means I lose a lot of fluid through sweat. It is important for me to rehydrate that with added carbohydrate and electrolytes that are in balance with my body’s natural fluids and help give me the energy to keep going. If it tastes good it’s even easier to get it down quickly and that’s where POWERADE comes in,” Mahé says.

Research shows 90 percent of all New Zealand adults participate in some form of sport[1]. For those who train hard, fast hydration and the addition of electrolytes and carbohydrates to their drink could help them get the most from their training.

 “We could be getting some warm days in Rio which makes hydration even more important. Most of us have had bad race-day experiences where we haven’t kept up our fluids. The headaches, the fatigue and the slowness mean there’s no way you can perform at your best. POWERADE Rio Gold will help keep us hydrated when we need it most,” Mahé says.

While Mahé’s height and athleticism paint him as a born sportsman, his rise to rowing royalty has not been without hard graft and sacrifice.

In fact, Mahé is a walking example of a study that found effort, practice and learning were far more important than natural talent when it comes to elite sports[2].

Rowing didn’t come calling until Mahé was in his early 20s, making him a relatively late starter by Olympic Games standards.

“I first decided to give rowing a crack while I was at university studying to be an accountant. Albeit unsuccessfully coming in second to last and missing another race entirely, I stuck it out because I enjoyed it and I knew that if I worked hard enough I could make a go of it,” Mahé says.

“You hear about these biomechanically gifted athletes, who has a massive wingspan and feet like flippers, but without hard work and the right attitude he would be no different to anyone else.”

While many countries have elite athlete programmes identifying talent from as soon as they can walk, Mahé says genetic predisposition is simply an advantage and not a golden ticket to success.

POWERADE Rio Gold is available in stores now. Get in quick to try the limited edition flavour and show your support for Mahé and the rest of our Kiwi athletes.

[1] Gemba 2015 – New Zealand – Monthly Insights Report, February 2015

[2] Jowett, N. & Spray, C.M. (2013). British Olympic Hopefuls: The antecedents and consequences of implicit ability beliefs in elite track and field athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 145 – 153.