Home page Rowing Hub

In 2019 Emma returned to international competition after two years away from the sport. She won a silver medal at the World Championships in Linz, Austria, her 5th World Championship medal in the women's single scull.

With limited international racing in 2020 due to lockdown, Emma next returned to the water at the Olympics in Tokyo - winning the women's single in an Olympic Best Time and in doing so becoming New Zealand's 48th Olympic Gold medalist and the only New Zealand Female to win the Olympic Single Scull event. Emma's international rowing career has spanned 16 years. A 4 x Olympian and World Champion. She has competed at the Beijing, London, Rio and Tokyo Olympics where she was crowned Olympic Champion in 2021.

In 2014 she claimed her first World Championship title at the World Rowing Champs in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her rowing resume includes a Senior, U23 and Junior World title in the Women’s single scull – a trifecta rarely achieved in the single scull. Emma was awarded the Halberg Trust 'Favourite Sporting Moment' award in 2021 and in 2005 was awarded the Halberg Emerging Talent Award at the same event. In 2014 she was named World Rowing’s Female Rower of the Year. She was also named on the Queen's Birthday Hounours list, along with fellow Olympic Rowing Gold Medallists - Grace Prendergast and Kerri Williams in 2022.

Emma took 2015 off from international competition and completed the FIFA Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, building on an undergraduate degree from the University of Waikato. After narrowly missing out on a medal by placing 4th in Rio, Emma took time off from rowing again in 2017 and worked in Switzerland at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Fast forward to 2022 post-Olympics - Emma and her wife, Charlotte Twigg, welcomed baby Tommy Twigg to the world on the 26th of April, 2022. Emma enjoys going on bike rides with Tommy, showing him the world secured onto the front of the bike, with the cool breeze going through his hair!

The year of 2022, Emma was named in the Elite Women's Double with (pregnant) partner Lucy Spoors. However, due to sickness, they were unable to race the combination at the Henley Royal Regatta and World Cup III. Emma came back to race the Women's Single at the 2022 World Rowing Championship, claiming Silver. The Women’s Single scull field was incredibly strong, with a number of Tokyo A-Finalists not being able to qualify for the A final. She then went on to give some Coastal Rowing a go, claiming Gold in the CW1x Title at the Coastal World Rowing Beach Sprint Championships in Saundersfoot, Wales. Emma also competed in a few other events with the NZ Coastal Rowing team, coming away with some more silverware.

When she arrived back in New Zealand, Emma and her illustrator/friend Jess, created a non-fiction Children's Book called 'Emma'. This is to share Emma's incredible journey to Olympic Gold to inspire Kiwi Kids to chase their dreams.

Emma went on to make NZ Rowing history, by winning her 10th National Title (Red coat) in the Women's Premier Single at the 2023 NZ Rowing Championship, representing the Hawkes Bay region. Emma Twigg received the 2023 Female Rower of the Year award. Twigg balances her rowing career with becoming a Mum and continuing to excel on the world stage, pathing the way for female athletes who want to continue to represent their country as well as start a family. By achieving what she did in 2022 alongside her commitments as a mother, she is inspiring and sends a message to all female athletes in New Zealand (and all over the world) that they do not have to choose between high-performance sport and family. She has been named as the 2023 Elite Women's Single to race at World Rowing Cup III (Bronze) and the World Rowing Championships this year, to try secure a spot for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Emma aims retain her Olympic Gold title in Paris next year, with her family coming along for the ride this time. At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, there were no spectators allowed at the venue.

Emma intends to make the most of the privilege of being an Elite athlete. A key driver in her commitment to Elite sport is the belief that she can inspire others and be a positive role model for all New Zealanders.