Crewroom Chats to Rebecca Scown - Double Olympic Medallist

Rebecca Scown is a double Olympic medallist, having won the women's pair bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Juliette Haigh, and silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Genevieve Behrent. At the Rio Olympic Games Rebecca competed in both the women's coxless pair and the women's eight.

Rebecca hails from Hawera, Taranaki and now lives in the UK where she is CEO of the YES Charity. Having been an Olympic Ambassador in New Zealand for many years, Rebecca had first-hand experience of the positive ways in which sport can generate life changing impact on youth...

You’re currently working for a UK charity – tell us a little bit about the charity, your role and how people can donate?

I run the YES Charity (Youth Experience in Sport) which was founded by Tony Mallin (HRR winner in 1975/76). YES finds sports clubs and charities which are helping disadvantaged young people to be more engaged in sport and helps them increase their impact by finding financial support from the private sector.

 Rebecca Scwon

Any support would be fantastic and would make a huge difference. If you would like to donate there is a donation option on the website or if your company/organisation is interested in supporting YES, please feel free to reach out to me directly at

As someone who became engaged with sport at a young age, can you tell us how were you introduced to rowing and how was your first lesson?

I was introduced at school; my brother and sister were already rowing there. I really can’t recall the first lesson but rowing at my school was such a traditional sport, so I loved being involved with it and being part of the rowing team.

You went on to become a successful elite rower – what is your greatest achievement?

Winning my 2012 Olympic bronze medal and 2016 Olympic silver medal are included in my best achievements, along with being so proud to be a part of the women’s eight who created history as the first NZ W8 to qualify for an Olympic Games in 2015 (with a podium finish) and then going on to compete at Rio the following year. I was the only one in the boat who had been to an Olympics before, so we were a young team and I thought we just worked together so well.

Who was the first person you called after winning your Olympic medal?

My dad didn’t travel to Rio, so he was the most important phone call after we won the silver.

Rebecca Scown International Rower

What was your favourite race?

I really remember loving my last international race at the World Champs in Florida 2017. It was the 8+ and the entire way down the 2000m the boats were all in line – you really couldn’t take a breath for fear of losing an inch. Such an intense but fun race and we were third, so a nice way to end my international career.

What was your favourite rowing snack?

I think chocolate milk, or a protein shake after a long hard row was always the most satisfying thing I would have.

What are your go to songs while you are working out?

Hmm, I would say I tend to listen to hip hop mostly for working out.

Marmite right or wrong?

Marmite and Vegemite in the UK is all wrong. NZ Vegemite is very right though, especially on NZ Vogel toast!

What are your favourite UK Sweets?

Hmm, I’m not a massive sweets person but I quite like honeycomb dipped in chocolate.

And finally, what is your guilty pleasure?

Lazy long Sunday lunches!

To find out more about YES and how you can donate, visit