James Chapman Olympic Rower

Imagine training for over 12 years to make a team to go to the Olympics. You’re fit and you believe you are at your peak ready to perform. Instead of getting in the rowing boat, you are asked to stand on the bank and watch the team selected hit the water. How would you deal with this situation and what would be going through your mind?

In today’s podcast episode I am joined by James Chapman. James is a dual Olympian and 2-time Olympic medalist in the sport of rowing. James has a bachelor of business degree and an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and is passionate about structures and support systems for athletes and teams to achieve high performance.


[1:52] How frank and honest James is about why he started rowing.

[2:25] Overcoming how a former coach almost extinguished Jame’s fire.

[3:37] Why the coaching style similar to a famous boxing movie resonated and allowed James to give the coach respect.

[5:30] How the difficulty of the domestic selection process made James a better competitor.

[10:15] How standing on the banks as a reserve was a defining moment that changed James.

[11:50] If you know the boxing movie above is you will hear the trumpets start playing here.

[12:38] Where true motivation comes from for the rest of us.

[14:45] What is so special about the rowing community & common values of people in it.

[17:35] What leaders should be doing when they are part of a team.

[19:10] The process for separating the nerves from the job to get done.

[19:40] “We don’t rise to the level of our hopes, rather we fall to the level of our training.”

[20:50] How being prepared gives you space to compete yourself.

[21:33] The cross training program Olympians put themselves through.

[24:00] How wisdom is earned through dynamically changing environments.

[27:40] Tips to get your rowing technique perfect at the gym.

[29:48] Importance of setting up support networks and frameworks for success.

[34:54] The next frontier for human performance.


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