Warren Cole
Personal information
Birth nameWarren Joseph Cole
Born(1940-09-12)12 September 1940
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Died17 July 2019(2019-07-17) (aged 78)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Height184 cm (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Weight82 kg (181 lb)[1]
CountryNew Zealand
ClubWhakatane Rowing Club[1]

Warren Joseph Cole (12 September 1940 – 17 July 2019) was a New Zealand rower who won an Olympic gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.


Cole was born in 1940 at Palmerston North, New Zealand,[1] and was educated at Hamilton Boys' High School.[2] He later lived in Whakatane, and was a member of the Whakatane Rowing Club.[1][3]

For the 1968 Summer Olympics, New Zealand qualified an eight and had a pool of four rowers and a cox as a travelling reserve; Cole was part of this reserve. Preparations were held in Christchurch at Kerr's Reach on the Avon River. The reserve rowers were unhappy with the "spare parts" tag and felt that they were good enough to perhaps win a medal if put forward as a coxed four. The manager, Rusty Robertson, commented about them that they were "the funniest looking crew you've ever seen".[4] There were stern discussions with the New Zealand selectors. In a training run, the coxed four was leading the eight over the whole race. In the end, the reserve rowers got their way and New Zealand entered both the coxed four and the coxed eight.[5] Cole won the Olympic coxed four event along with Dick Joyce, Dudley Storey, Ross Collinge and Simon Dickie (cox);[6] this was New Zealand's first gold medal in rowing.[4] At the time, Cole was living in Whakatane with his wife and two young children, and selling milking shed equipment. The crew's winning boat was later sold to a rowing club to recoup costs, and ended up in splinters after a road crash.[7]

At the 1970 World Rowing Championships in St. Catharines in Canada, he won a bronze medal with the coxed eight.[8] At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich he competed again in the coxed four which finished sixth.

Cole worked for the National Dairy Association in marketing and sales. He later moved to Hamilton and sold equipment for the dairy industry.[9]

Cole died in Hamilton on 17 July 2019.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Warren Cole". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b "New Zealand rowing Olympic gold medallist Warren Cole dies, aged 78". Stuff.co.nz. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Warren Cole". New Zealand Olympic Committee. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Famed New Zealand Olympic rower Dudley Storey dies". Stuff. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  5. ^ "New Zealand Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Coxed Fours". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  7. ^ White, Mike (May 2018). "The greatest race you never heard of: NZ's first gold medal in rowing". North & South. 386: 58–66.
  8. ^ "Rudern – Weltmeisterschaften. Achter – Herren" [Rowing – World Championships. Eight – Men]. Sport-Komplett.de (in German). Archived from the original on 17 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Big boats still hold major appeal". Waikato Times. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2016.