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Uru Joins Pinnacle Athletes At Olympics

19 June 2008

Uru Joins Pinnacle Athletes At Olympics

Storm Uru’s dramatic qualification for the Olympic Games overnight brings to four the number of athletes from Hyundai’s Pinnacle mentor programme bound for Beijing.

Uru, rowing in the lightweight double sculls with Peter Taylor, surprised the rowing world with a start-to-finish win in Poland. It’s expected the pair will now be confirmed for the Games by the NZ Olympic Committee.

Uru will join current Pinnacle athlete, Auckland traithlete Debbie Tanner, in Beijing along with two Pinnacle graduates, butterfly swimmer Moss Burmester and laser sailor Andrew Murdoch.

Pinnacle, now in its fourth year, has two other graduates: Kate McIlroy of Wellington was expected to be a strong Games contender in the 3,000m steeplchase but was forced to withdraw with a leg injury, while Aucklander Andrea Fountain competes in a non-Olympic sport, wakeboarding where she is a top world championship hope.

Invercargill-born Uru, based with the elite squad at Lake Karapiro, rates Pinnacle as a cornerstone of his recent success.

“It takes a lot off your mind, it actually de-stresses you a little bit knowing there are other people you can go to, to help out,” said the 23-year former two-time world age group champion.
Pinnacle says the rower’s qualification triumph is exactly what it aims for.

“When Storm came into the programme last last year his first Pinnacle event was the Olympics and we identified this Poland regatta as the key,” said the CEO of Pinnacle, Ian Miles.

“We concentrated on each of the steps to here, now it’s a matter of re-focussing on the Games races themselves.

“Storm’s performance with Peter overnight and in the buildup races was so commanding that who knows what could happen in Beijing.

“He joins three Debbie, Moss and Andrew who are all have a realistic chance of taking New Zealand into the medals.

“We are sad Kate won’t be there as well, she had the potential to spring a surprise in the final. But we are confident her Pinnacle preparation will serve her well when she returns to competition.”
Mr Miles says the Pinnacle mentor system works equally well for athletes in non-Olympic sports.

“Andrea Fountain was one of our two foundation athletes, with Andrew Murdoch, and the benefits of her training can be seen clearly in wakeboarding which is really one of the extreme sports.

“We expect to induct a new athlete into Pinnacle shortly, and future members will certainly come from non-Olympic sports.”

Pinnacle is a nationwide organisation, backed by the Hyundai motor vehicle network, which provides young athletes with a range of professional and personal skills to help them reach world-best status.
Building on the athlete’s physical conditioning and their technical training in their sport, Pinnacle mentors a range of skills outside the field of competition, which are typically the difference between success and failure at the highest level.

The programme is based on 12 Pillars, covering everything from media and sponsors to mental motivation and the price of fame.

Pinnacle considers these to be skills essential as athletes take the step to true professionalism, and which conversely have often been the undoing of competitors as off-field issues impact on their performance.


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