Thomas, congratulations on a well-deserved nomination. What was your immediate reaction?
It couldn’t be better! I’m flattered, and now I’ve just got my fingers crossed for May. I know that all of the candidates are extremely successful, so it’ll be a tough ask.
All of the other candidates come from either the USA, New Zealand or Great Britain – it must be great to get Denmark’s name up there?
Absolutely. I finished my elite career quite a few years ago and accepted that I wasn’t an active athlete anymore, so it’s great to be recognised in this manner. Naturally, I’m delighted I can represent my country in such a prestigious competition and it’s a great way to sign off my career.
You’ve obviously won double Olympic gold, so how does this nomination rank alongside that?
I wouldn’t rank it – I’m just honoured. Throughout my training, I was motivated by the thought of winning an Olympic gold medal. This is just a wonderful bonus, but it never crossed my mind during my racing career. Now that I have the nomination, I probably recognise a little more just how important it is though.
In Denmark, we have a special clap on your shoulder – it means your achievements have been recognised from the outside
How are you currently involved in the sport?
After Beijing, I met my wife and we moved in together pretty fast. That meant the end of my career. I also had my age and an impending job to consider. I’m a board member of the Danish Rowing Federation, and that’s a great way for me to stay engaged with the sport. I can share and contribute to the sport and our countries relationship with rowing. It’s also a great way to give back what has been granted to me; I was taken care of as an athlete, so I enjoy doing the same for others now.
Photo credit – http://www.firmaidraet.dk/foreningsnet/nyheder/thomas-ebert-extreme-mandehoerm-vaekker-vinderinstinktet