Emma Twigg of New Zealand wins the gold medal women's single sculls during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Sea Forest Waterway. | Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Emma Twigg
Country: New Zealand
Sport: Rowing, single sculls
Previous Olympic experience: Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2021
Social Media: Instagram / X

Who is Emma Twigg

After narrowly missing the podium with fourth-place finishes in 2012 and 2016, the third time was the charm in Tokyo 2021 as Emma Twigg finally rowed her way to Olympic gold.

Born in Napier, New Zealand, the 37-year-old Olympian first took up rowing at age 14, and just two years later was winning under-17 and under-19 national titles in single sculls. Her early success led her to achieve a coveted treble of senior, under-23, and junior world titles, and she has not placed outside the top four in the world since 2009

Outside of rowing, she has worked in sports governance with a two-year stint at the International Olympic Committee. Twigg also grew up playing cricket until age 12, and was reintroduced to it by her wife, Charlotte, who once played wicketkeeper for the Wellington cricket team, rekindling her passion for the sport. She would even go on to play for the Northern Districts women’s cricket team in their 2021-22 season, where Charlotte works as commercial manager.

Emma Twigg at the Paris Summer Olympics

Coming off a gold-medal high in her previous appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo and still at the top of her game, Twigg qualified for Paris on Day 6 of the World Rowing Championships last year. This summer will be her fifth appearance at the Olympics, an incredible testament to her longevity and dedication to the sport.

The Tokyo Games were also Twigg’s first since coming out publicly, and in fact being open about her marriage to her wife was part of what motivated her to give the Olympics one more shot.

“It’s a great example for anyone out there struggling with who they are,” she said on Outsports’ “Five Rings To Rule Them All” podcast in 2021.