Otago alumnus Kobe Miller (22) is targeting a place in the New Zealand rowing team at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Currently on a rowing scholarship at Northeastern University in Boston, he began his rowing career at Wairau Rowing Club and Marlborough Boys’ College and continued rowing competitively while at the University of Otago.
Kobe was offered a scholarship by the head rowing coach at Northeastern, who had come to New Zealand to watch the North Island rowing champs in January. Moving to Boston in September, Kobe joined five other Kiwis honing their sporting careers at the college of more than 36,000 students, who are known as “Huskies”.
Although his career has mainly been in single skulls and quad boats, at Northeastern Kobe has joined the sweeping fleet (rowers with a single oar), racing in the First Varsity Eight.
Studying towards a Master of Sports Leadership, he is already thoroughly impressed with the operations of local professional franchises the Boston Bruins (ice hockey) and Boston Celtics (basketball). A keen basketball fan, he is hoping to get along to a Celtics match soon.
At school, basketball was his main sport and some of his former teammates have progressed with it to higher honours, but for Kobe rowing has grown from a way to keep fit to his chosen path towards his dream of representing his country at an Olympics.
Kobe was offered places at a few rowing programmes, including Boston University, Syracuse University, University of Washington and University of California (Berkeley) in 2020, but chose to finish his Otago studies. He completed his Bachelor of Applied Science in Physical Education and Health, with a minor in Sport Development and Management in 2022 and graduated this year. He gives full credit to his professors for their support, with special mentions to Sport and Exercise Sciences Dean Associate Professor Elaine Hargreaves, and fellow Associate Professors Tania Cassidy and Mark Falcous.
“My professors made me realise the opportunities of a future career in professional sports and I am forever grateful for the support they gave.”
While at Otago he received a Performance Entrance Scholarship and also a Prime Minister’s Scholarship.
He loved his time in Salmond College and flatted in Forth Street. He spent much of his third and final year at the Rowing High Performance Centre in Cambridge, but finished up his year in a flat in Māori Hill.
“The lecturers at Otago were very supportive of my need to balance time at the Rowing High Performance Centre in Cambridge with completing my assignments and allowed me some flexibility.”
At the time of his interview Kobe was catching up with some of his Kiwi family visiting in Dallas Texas. He soon has a break from his studies and will be heading home to Blenheim.
“I’m looking forward to getting home in the summer for a month and enjoying the sun,” Kobe says.
In 2019 Kobe earned his first national call-up, travelling to Japan with the NZ U19 rowing team. In 2022, Kobe travelled to Italy as part of the U23s, competing at the World Championships in the single skulls. Then in 2023, he was chosen as part of the quad which competed at the World Championships in Bulgaria. We wish Kobe all the best of luck in pursuing his Olympic dream.