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Q&A with Josh Bugajski

Get to know GB Olympic rower Josh Bugajski and his journey into the sport:

How did you get involved in your sport? 

I started rowing in 2010 during my second year studying at Cardiff University. As a teenager I threw myself into every sport I could try and I usually got pretty competent – but that was never enough. When it was suggested that I might be a good fit for rowing I signed up and gave it a go. The rest is history… 

-Who were your sporting heroes growing up? 

I grew up as a Manchester United fan in the 90s. As a child I struggled with severe asthma and usually played goalkeeper, so I used to imagine I was Peter Schmeichel in my lime green Man United goalie top. My other idol was Paul Scholes – mainly because he was so down-to-earth despite being one of the best midfielders to play the game.  

 –Do you remember your first competition? 

My first race was a time trial hosted by Bristol University on the river Avon in 2010 – I remember spending most of the race hoping we wouldn’t crash and that I wouldn’t get my oar stuck in the water (known in rowing terms as a “crab”). I still had a lot to learn.  

-Best piece of advice from your coach? 

To treat racing like jumping. If I’m asked to jump in the air as high as I can, I don’t need to think too hard or motivate myself, I just do it. With all the training we do, racing can be the same – it doesn’t need to be overthought, it’s just repeating what you’ve already done in training so many times before! 

-What are your go-to guilty treats? 

As a treat I’ll sometimes buy a box of miniature brownies from the supermarket and drown them in double cream. I wouldn’t recommend doing this often.  

-Did you learn any new skills during the various lockdowns? 

I started learning the piano, and, like most new hobbies taken up during lockdown, the keys are currently gathering dust. I’ve wanted to learn for years, so I plan on taking it up again after the Games. 

-Can you share a quirky fact that not many people know about you?

I can be caught whistling Christmas songs all year round. I can often be caught whistling them (or something similarly inappropriate!) as we get onto the start line before big races – it keeps me calm and in control of the moment. 

Why rowing? What does it give you that other sports don’t

Rowing gives me a chance to really push my own limit, both in a team and individually. I love being able to get out on the water – whether it’s in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city, or in the middle of nowhere – the water is my sanctuary. I’ve also never found another past-the-post sport which can match the noise and ferocity of a side-by-side race in 20metrelong eights! 

Find out more about Josh here.

If you think rowing is the sport for you click here to check out where you local club is.


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