France’s Adrien Hardy is a member of an exclusive group of athletes. One of few to have
competed at three Olympic Games, he will soon claim London 2012 as his fourth, after having
qualified in the men’s quadruple sculls at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne,
Hardy raced in the men’s double sculls at each
Games he took part in, but never with the same
partner. In 2004 he won Olympic gold with
Sebastien Vieilledent. In 2006, he set a World
Best Time in the double with Jean-Baptiste
Macquet. It was a disappointing fifth place in
Beijing that inspired Hardy to continue his rowing
career beyond 2008. “I didn’t want to end my
career with this race. For me, you do four years
of training and then an Olympics, so I knew after
Beijing that I wanted to go to London.”
the boat is going, but when the regatta starts,
everything you thought you knew is wrong and
you have to re-assess.”
Since Beijing, Hardy has competed internationally
in a variety of boat classes: the men’s quad, the
eight, the pair, back in the eight and now again
in the quad.
A margin of just 0.12 seconds secured the second
of two Olympic qualification places available for
Hardy and his crewmates in the men’s quad.
These 0.12 seconds did not come easily however.
Every training session since the beginning of this
season was focused on preparing for this regatta.
Nothing existed beyond it. For Hardy, it would
either be the beginning or the end of a story.
Being on the right side of the margin meant that
his Olympic dream lives on.
Time and time again, Hardy has proved himself as
someone capable of dealing with new challenges.
This was his first time at the Final Olympic
Qualification Regatta and it is not an experience
he would recommend. “This regatta is awful! It is
a lot easier to qualify the year before the Games
at the World Rowing Championships,” he explains.
“When you arrive before the start of the regatta,
you think you have some certainties about how
Hardy’s 2004 Olympic Champion partner
Vielledent is now his coach and encourages
Hardy to impart his experience on his younger
crewmates. Hardy’s opinion of his own track
record is humbling: “I am not a teacher as there
is no difference between us. I just have a past
and I need to use it to help our boat go faster
Now that he has crossed the first hurdle, Hardy
can look towards this summer’s Olympic Games.