Hugh Matheson
More Power: The Story of Jurgen Grobler: The most successful Olympic coach of all time

More Power: The Story of Jurgen Grobler: The most successful Olympic coach of all time
Christopher Dodd

Hugh Matheson

Arguably the greatest coach in British sporting history.

Jurgen Grobler’s Olympic coaching career is one of legend, yet the man himself has remained resolutely out of the spotlight. Over the last twenty years he has masterminded British Rowing’s incomparable success. And when the difference between gold and silver can mean mere fractions of a second, Jurgen Grobler has consistently delivered Olympic gold through various boat classes and with an ever-changing group of athletes.

Arguably the greatest coach in British sporting history, Grobler’s unparalleled record outstrips many much better known records and stories; building champions such as Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell to name but few.

This authoritative account of Grobler’s career straddles the Iron Curtain, beginning in the German Democratic Republic, where systemic state-funded doping was an open secret, before crossing to Britain following the fall of the Berlin Wall. And whilst culture and sport have shifted dramatically over the last half century, Grobler’s pursuit of greatness has never faltered.

Written by Olympic medallist, Hugh Matheson, and rowing historian, Christopher Dodd, More Power is the unmissable story of one man’s quest for glory, and sets out to unlock the secrets of Jurgen Grobler: the finest coach Olympic sport has ever seen.

THE AUTHORS have been rowing correspondents and commentators throughout Jurgen Grobler’s two lives. They met when Hugh Matheson was rowing in the national squad in the early 1970s and Chris Dodd was chasing the squad round the regatta circuit on behalf of the Guardian. In one capacity or another, they have witnessed all of Grobler’s World and Olympic performances. When Dodd’s Guardian colleague Charlie Burgess was appointed sports editor of the new Independent newspaper in 1986 and sought a rowing specialist, Dodd recommended Matheson who had recently retired as a competitor.

HUGH MATHESON’s rowing career began when he fell into the Thames, aged thirteen, alongside the rafts at Eton. He thrived on the challenge of rowing, loved the adrenalin of racing and was hooked. Ten years on he was rowing in the British coxed four at the Munich Olympics, off the pace and finishing tenth.

Following a silver medal in the Montreal Olympic Games and a year off adapting to an unexpected inheritance in Sherwood Forest, Matheson bought a single sculling boat and found that he preferred to be solely responsible for his failures and successes. Having no one else to blame and no one else to claim the glory was the drug, although it left few excuses for a lamentable sixth place after a boat-stopping entanglement with a lane marker in the final of the single sculls in the Moscow Olympics of 1980.

At the Atlanta Olympics ten years later, Matheson became a summariser for Eurosport, an all-sports subscription television channel. This is his first book.

CHRIS DODD has written about rowing in newspapers, magazines and books since the coming of Janoušek in 1970. His introduction to rowing was as a schoolboy cox at Clifton College, having no talent for cricket. He progressed to the stroke seat of his school’s second eight, a crew that satisfyingly beat the first eight in a challenge race at the end of the season. He stopped rowing after his first term at Nottingham University to edit the student newspaper, which led to a career on the Guardian in 1965.

As a Guardian staffer, his main job was layout, design and section editing in the features department, but he also worked on the sport and city pages. He began writing about rowing at weekends in 1970, covering Boat Races and Henley regattas. He covered his first world championships in 1974 to witness Matheson’s eight win a silver medal, and his first Olympics in 1984 to see Steve Redgrave launch his golden Olympic career in Los Angeles.

Dodd was the founding editor of Britain’s Regatta magazine and FISA’s World Rowing magazine.

In 1994 Dodd turned freelance when his off-the-wall scheme to set up the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames became a reality. He was responsible for creating the rowing collection and library and curating special exhibitions.

Dodd is a board member of the Friends of Rowing History and has contributed to history symposia at the River & Rowing Museum and Mystic Seaport. From 1994 he continued as rowing correspondent at the Guardian until moving to the Independent in 2004.

This is his tenth book (for book details see (

BOOKS BY CHRISTOPHER DODD (#ulink_c5cd6dd1-583a-510d-818f-2ca7e345045d)

Henley Royal Regatta (1981)

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (1983)

Boating (1983)

The Story of World Rowing (1992)

Battle of the Blues (Ed, 2004)

Water Boiling Aft (2006)

Pieces of Eight (2012)

Bonnie Brave Boat Rowers (2014)

Unto the Tideway Born (2015)

Copyright (#ulink_5a9789ec-5c20-59d9-a8ac-587a8bda8edf)

An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

First published in Great Britain by HQ in 2018

Copyright © Christopher Dodd and Hugh Matheson 2018

Christopher Dodd and Hugh Matheson asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Ebook Edition © June 2018 ISBN: 9780008217815

For Bohumil ‘Bob’ Janoušek who changed the face of British rowing and put Britain’s oarsmen back on the medal podium during his tenure as chief coach from 1970–76.


Cover (#u76227e88-1662-5aee-8a4c-4dbf7d4a036a)

About the Author (#u97d94662-f1e9-57d5-85c6-20418c6e4dbb)

Booklist (#ulink_fba9591d-a345-5efa-b1c0-53abb3285a32)

Title Page (#u76517624-5013-5abc-8981-d56ca6e373c2)

Copyright (#ulink_91430f07-2c05-523e-9c8f-ba0911c01e0d)

Dedication (#u291c3b95-1f77-5c4e-b053-4c1002a388c0)

Preface (#ulink_becee7e6-7843-5f43-9e03-bdaa8e4f041b)

Chapter 1 – The Munich Olympiad (#ulink_d5a175fb-dd80-504e-8abc-fe90ea5dd02a)

Chapter 2 – The Montreal Olympiad (#ulink_9c0eca3e-3275-53ef-b511-d3e3c67ac679)

Chapter 3 – The Moscow Olympiad (#ulink_0ce4bbd5-676a-57b2-afc7-1f30ed62db40)