By Daniel Gilhooly
New Zealand Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale admits a friendly race down the Whanganui River this weekend could be his last before he hangs up his oars.
Drysdale, who turned 34 last month, is seriously considering retirement after struggling to find enthusiasm to get back in a boat since his single sculls triumph at the London Olympics in August.
The five-time world champion will decide by Christmas whether to mount a campaign for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro or move on with aspects of his life that have always played second fiddle.
"I'm not going to commit until I'm ready to commit for four years," Drysdale told NZ Newswire.
"The only thing stopping me continuing at the moment is the drive and the passion. I haven't found enough yet to get me through to Rio."
Melbourne-born Drysdale said he had been in talks with friends, family and Rowing New Zealand officials about his options.
The retirement of partner and long-serving New Zealand rower Juliette Haigh over the weekend had given Drysdale even more to consider.
"I'm tossing up a lot of things at the moment and just really trying to make a decision that I'll be happy with.
"I'm racing this weekend and that will be a good chance to see whether I enjoy getting out there and competing again and whether I'm prepared to push myself through the tough times.
"If I decide I've had enough then this weekend will be my last hurrah."
Drysdale will line up at the annual Billy Webb Challenge 5km invitation race on Sunday alongside fellow-Olympic champions Eric Murray, Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan.
Also in the field is Swede Lassi Karonen, who was fourth behind Drysdale in London.