Colin J Smith
Kings College (now Pembroke School) 1963-1967, Riverside RC 1968-69, Port Adelaide RC 1970, Torrens RC 1970-1973 (all SA) then Melbourne University Boat Club (Vic)
Colin has done what few people have been able to achieve, row, coach and administer the sport of rowing at the highest levels. His impressive rowing record is listed below.
He has also been a professional at the highest levels in the business of sport, specifically sports media. Colin provides strategic advice to media companies and professional sports on media rights, strategic direction, mergers and acquisitions, strategic reviews and competition structures in Australia, Europe and Asia. He has also been a CEO, Director and Chair of various media companies in Australia.
Colin has also been a strategic adviser for leading professional sports (Cricket, AFL, Rugby, Rugby League, Football, Basketball, Netball, Baseball, Golf, Surfing, Racing, Cycling, Olympic Games and Olympic Sports and leading international events such as the Commonwealth Games and World Cup) media rights for Free to Air TV, Pay TV, digital media and radio in Australia, Europe, Africa, USA and Asia.
In summary, Colin is a global expert on sports media rights in the changing media. He was described by Roy Masters in the Sydney Morning Herald as "The Man who holds the key to TV Sport" through his advisory roles across NRL, Cricket, Rugby, Football and AFL.
Clearly such skills were not to be ignored by World Rowing. Colin was appointed by FISA in 2002 to lead the team to undertaking detailed research and ‘fact base’ on the future of lightweight rowing at the Olympic Games and the weight averaging rules being evaluated by the FISA Medical Commission. Later in 2007, he was appointed by FISA as a member of their FISA Marketing, Television and New Media Advisory Committee in 2007.
He also became a member of the FISA strategy review group and in 2011, formed an Advisory Group of the leading rowing nations to liaise with FISA and protect their interests (and avoid Euro centricity) that included; GB, Germany, Netherlands, France, USA, Canada, Aust & NZ).
But back to Australia, Colin achieved much during his time at Rowing Australia. The following provide a flavour of his work:
- Introduction of the U21 National Championships for club based crews and the Club Championships for non elite crews that again was club based
- Reintroduction of the Trans Tasman Series with NZL as an under 21 teams regatta to develop future elite athletes
- Inclusion of US based college Australian rowers into the Australian U23 team selection with their training and selection all completed in the USA
- Merger of the AIS Rowing program and RA into a single joint venture the NRCE (National Rowing Centre of Excellence) pooling all resources.
- Then recruiting Andrew Matheson, the highly successful HP Director of NZ Rowing and leading global rowing HP specialist, as the inaugural Director
- Through direct funding from the AIS, construction of a purpose built facility of boatshed and offices at the AIS facility in Canberra, now appropriately called the Reinhold Batschi NTC
- Under the new leadership at the NRCE, at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovakia the Australian team had its most successful results winning 3 Gold Medals, 4 Silver Medals and 3 Bronze Medals
- The introduction of the Adopt a School program that was directly funded by the Australian Government via the Hon Mark Arbib Minister of Sports that provided direct grants to regional rowing clubs if they entered into a formal agreement with local schools to introduce rowing as a school sports program. Some examples were; Shepparton RC, Corowa RC, Albury RC, and Bairnsdale RC but was similarly embraced across Australia.
- Rowing Australia being appointed by World Rowing, to have the first Southern Hemisphere full World Cup regatta at Penrith in both 2013 & 2014. This was supported financially by Destination NSW with a sponsorship of approximately $1.4 million per year (which continued for 6 years). Tis enabled RA to create a Festival of Rowing that combined the Interstate Championships, National Championships, Schools Championship and the World Cup.
- Formation of CAOS (Coalition of the Olympic multi-medal sports - rowing, canoeing, swimming, athletics, sailing and swimming) to prepare a submission to the Crawford Review of Australian HP Sport and where applicable as a single voice to the Australian Government.
1970-72 - King's College Adelaide, under age crews, coach
1970 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship two seat (SA) – First
1971 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship bow (SA) – Second
1972 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship bow (SA) – Third
1973 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship three seat (SA) – Second
1974 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship (VIC) bow – First
1974 - West German National Championships, Men's Lightweight Four, bow - Silver
1974 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Four – Gold
1975 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship (VIC) bow – First
1975 - National Men’s Lightweight Four Championship bow – First
1975 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Four bow – Bronze
1976 - Australian University Championships, Men's Lightweight Four and Men's Pair, coach - First
1977 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship bow – First
1977 - National Men’s Lightweight Four Championship bow – First
1977 - West German National Championships, Men's Lightweight Four, bow - Gold
1977 - Copenhagen International Championships, Men's Four and Men's Lightweight Four - Gold
1977 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Four bow – Silver
1978-80 - Rowing Victoria Executive Committee member
1978 - APS Head of the River, Carey Grammar 1st crew, coach - Fifth
1978 - World Championships, women's selector
1978 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship emergency
1978 – National Championship Men’s Lightweight Eight five seat - First
1978 - West German National Championships, Men's Lightweight Four, bow - Gold
1978 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Eight stroke – Bronze
1978 – World Championships – Women’s selector
1979 – Interstate Men’s Lightweight Four Championship stroke – First
1979 – National Championship Men’s Lightweight Eight stroke - First
1979 – World Championships – Men’s Lightweight Eight – selected but withdrew for business reasons
1981 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship coach – Second
1981 - National Championships Men's Coxless Four coach - First and Second
1999-2001 and 2002-2014 – Board member of Rowing Australia
2005-2014 - Chair of the RA High Performance Commission
2001- 2009 Board member Rowing Australia & Chairman of the High Performance Commission
2009 to 2014 – President of Rowing Australia and Co Chairman of the National Rowing Centre of Excellence
1974 FISA Championship Four - Colin in bow seat
Both Colin's children also rowed with daughter Sarah winning Blues from Melbourne University and son Tim also with a Blue and rowing for Australia from 2003 to 2006 winning, like his father, a bronze medal in the lightweight eights in 2004.
Andrew Guerin 2011
Updated December 2021