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Daniel wants to change the world

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OLYMPIC EFFORTS: Daniel Marquardt believes he can change the world through rowing, as he trains to represent Samoa in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Photo: Jenifer ForbesSamoan man Daniel Marquardt believes he can change the world through rowing.

The 35-year-old is training six days a week in New Zealand at the moment, in a bid to represent Samoa in rowing during the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I believe that my qualification for and participation in the Olympics will ensure the successful adoption and development of rowing in Samoa,” Marquardt said.

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“A few weeks ago, I participated in U.S. Rowing’s fall speed order, which is a measuring stick for elite rowers seeking U.S. national team selection.

“The event has two competition components: an ergometer test, [which] measures speed potential using an apples-to-apples method, and an on-water race in single sculls.

“I finished fifth on the erg test, despite training on an elite level for a relatively short period.

“While I expected to finish last on the water, given my novice technique, I actually beat a couple of competitors to the great surprise and delight of many following the event.

“I am on a very steep learning curve, that could very well see me compete for gold in the Asia/ Oceania Olympic qualifier, where the top seven finishers will make the Olympics, and then continue to improve and make a very surprising debut competition in the Olympics.”

Marquardt lives with his wife and daughters, near Washington, D.C. in the United States.

Originally a college football player, with N.F.L aspirations, injuries ended Marquardt’s dreams of football stardom. After that, he gained a massive amount of weight, ending up at about 350 pounds.

“Three years ago I decided to change my life and learn about rowing, so that I could expose my two young daughters to the sport.

“This resulted in my losing more than 100 pounds and discovering my Olympic potential.”

The athlete’s training in New Zealand is taking place throughout the country’s summer months, with the N.Z. racing season going through to late February. Then it’s on to the Olympic qualifier.

“The Olympic qualifier for Samoa is the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifying Regatta, which will be held from 23- 25 April in Korea.

“The top seven finishers in my event, the heavyweight single scull (M1x), will qualify for the Olympics. “My goal at the regatta is to not only qualify, but finish on the podium and show Samoa that anything is possible.” If successful, the hopeful athlete aims to inspire a new generation of female Samoan rowers. “Samoan athletic talent is exported into sports like American football and international rugby.

These sports have created thousands of opportunities for young Samoan men to travel beyond the islands, experience Western culture and receive university educations.

“What is alarming to me is that this conversation about athletics has almost entirely excluded half of Samoa’s population. “There is no American football or rugby with the accompanying benefits for women.

The only reason there is no such sport for women is because noone has [found] one, until this year.

“Rowing will be the sport that will create parallel opportunities for Samoan women to those that exist for men in sports.”

Marquardt’s family comes from the village of Malie (Collins family) in Samoa and Leone (Marquardt family) in American Samoa.

 

 

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