Emma Twigg at the 2014 Armada Cup ©Bernhard Marbach

From New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, Twigg is the quintessential single sculler. She has focused on the single, almost exclusively, since 2005. That year, at age 18, she took part in her first World Rowing Under 23 Championships and won gold at the World Rowing Junior Championships. She had a  stint in the women’s eight in 2006, but it was short-lived, returning to the single the following year to win gold at under-23 level and launch her career at senior level. Since then she has been a consistent finalist and a regular medallist in the women’s single sculling field.

At the 2010 World Rowing Championships in Karapiro, New Zealand, Twigg won her first World Championship medal – a bronze. In 2011 she won World Championship bronze again, then silver in 2013 and finally, the long-aimed-for World Championship title this year in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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Her perseverance, good results and sportsmanship earned her this year’s World Rowing Female Rower of the Year award. World Rowing caught up with Twigg to share with you a little bit more about this exceptional athlete.

World Rowing: What factors have played a role in your success this year?
Emma Twigg: This year I have really enjoyed myself, on and off the water. I think this had been reflected in my performances on the water. I am surrounded by a great team.

WR: What did you want to be when you were ten years old?
ET: An athlete – field hockey player.

WR: Where are you keeping your World Rowing Award?
ET: I hope my coach Gary has it in his sock drawer (Emma was not able to make it to the Award ceremony).

WR: What can we find in your refrigerator?
ET: My fridge is always well stocked by my flatmates, lots of healthy fresh food, and some treats…

WR: If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be?
ET: Giraffe – I have a long neck…

WR: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
ET: Roger Federer – he is the ultimate role model in human performance, character and is ridiculously humble.

WR: If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
ET: Always energised and the ability to make the people around me happy. Being able to fly would also be a great power.

WR: What type of person would you refuse to row with and why?
ET: No one – I think I am the one people would refuse to row with. 

WR: What is one of your most beneficial strengths and why?
ET: People call me Emma Express, I seem to have an ability to do things quickly and get lots done in a short time. Not sure that is a positive when it comes to doing things well!

WR: What is a weakness you would prefer not having?
ET: My biggest weakness is the need for sleep, my love of chocolate…. and the need for results – right now!

WR: What do you do to take your mind off of rowing?
ET: Enjoy time with my friends, call my parents, visit cafes.

WR: What are your goals for the coming ten years?
ET: That’s a million dollar question… My goals are constantly changing and being re-evaluated, best not to think too far ahead.