By Shelby Brooks
TWO-TIME Olympian Cameron McKenzie-McHarg swapped an AFL jersey for the chance to row in an Olympics.
Born and raised in Leongatha, Cameron discovered rowing at Scotch College, where he attended as a boarder from Year 10.
At that stage, the Oarsome Foursome had won gold in Atlanta and were a “big deal”.
“Rowing is a big sport at the school and the Oarsome Foursome was such a key team in Australia that was succeeding on the international stage,” Cameron said.
“So, as a sport it was a natural interest for me.
“And I liked the idea of jumping in and trying something new.”
After graduating high school, Cameron was drafted to the Western Bulldogs where he spent a year and a half, but the draw of the 2000 Olympics brought him back to rowing.
“Getting to an Olympics was going to be the ultimate for me,” Cameron said.
He spent the next several years racing internationally before making it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and winning silver in the coxless four.
“The cool thing was you sometimes anticipate an event and it doesn’t reach your expectations, but the buzz and the energy of the Olympics exceeds all your expectations,” he said.
“To be somewhere where not only the best rowers in the world are, but also the best athletes in all sports at one place and time and seeing everyone walking around the Olympic village was amazing.”
Cameron said as amazing as winning silver was, it was “bittersweet” because the team was in the lead the entire race, and only pipped in the last 100 metres.
“Winning a medal at an Olympics really ties it all together,” he said.
“Living out your dream is pretty cool!”