Nelson parents of Olympic rower surprised with tickets to Rio


Nelson rower Brook Robertson will live his dream when he competes at the Rio Olympics this winter – and now his family will be there to watch after they were surprised with tickets from sponsor Volkswagen.

Brook, 21, was selected to be part of the New Zealand Olympic men’s rowing eight crew earlier this month, following their fourth placing at the World Rowing Championships in France in September.

Brook’s parents were going to watch their son compete from their Nelson home as the Olympic travel packages to Rio were prohibitively expensive.

That’s where New Zealand Olympic Committee sponsor Volkswagen NZ stepped in.

Volkswagen NZ surprised the Robertsons at Lake Karapiro while they were watching Brook train this week, letting them know they had purchased an Olympic travel package for the family to cheer Brook on in Rio.

The news came as a complete surprise for Brook’s mum Lynn Petrie and she says she is ecstatic to be able to be there for this exciting step in Brook’s journey as a rower.

“Every time Brook’s won a medal, he’s put it around my neck and kissed the top of my head. I’m looking forward to being there for him to be able to put a medal around my neck after they win at Rio,” says Lynn.

Brook’s dad Wayne suffered a forestry accident that left him unable to work in 2013 so is unable to travel but Brook’s brother Balin Robertson will take his seat, alongside his mum.

Volkswagen NZ General Manager Tom Ruddenklau says the gesture is behind Volkswagen’s drive to support not only New Zealand’s Olympic athletes, but those who have supported our athletes to get to this point.

“We’re well aware an athlete’s family is often their biggest supporter, from cheering at the sidelines, to the financial support over many years. Brook’s family deserve to see him compete at Rio and we know having his family there in person will mean a great deal to him.”