Professional Greek rower Stefanos Ntouskos has scored team Greece’s first Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medal and first podium finish overall.
The 24-year-old qualified for the finals in men’s single sculls on Thursday, finishing first in the semi-final A/B 2 category. He came first in all but one of his three heats in the lead up to the final, instead coming second in the first quarter final.
On Friday, Ntouskos took out first place with a time of 6:40.45, ahead of Norway’s Kjetil Borch and Croatia’s Damir Martin.
In the world of sport, Ntouskos’ entrance into rowing may have been considered late.
“Until I was age 15 I was involved in athletics. A rowing coach came to my school and encouraged me to try this sport. At my first session I heard rowers screaming. I was very surprised and very cautious. I had never seen anything like it in my life. Why would anyone want to practise a sport so demanding, so hard and so painful? Over time I came to love rowing,” he told rowit.gr in 2020.
“I was impressed by our ability to endure intense pain. Of course, there were times when I wanted to give up. Eventually, I learned that there was no easy way, so I did not let the pain get in the way.”
While the young rower celebrates, all eyes will be shifting to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Eleftherios Petrounias, with the hope he will bring Greece another podium finish on Monday in the men’s rings finals.