Mahe Drysdale has secured an Olympic rowing gold medal at his third attempt and says he mightn't be finished yet.

The single sculler added the most coveted prize in his sport to his five world titles with victory on the London Games course at Eton Dorney.

At 33, Drysdale could be excused for thinking about hanging up the oars after fulfilling a 12-year dream.

Instead, he has his eye on continuing through to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"I would say it's unlikely that I'll be at the world champs next year," he said.

"But there's a good probability that I'll be in Rio in four years time."

Drysdale plans to take a few months off, and might tackle an event like an ironman or the Coast-to-Coast.

With the Olympics being the pinnacle, any decision he makes on his rowing career will be based on a four-year plan.

It will also be made in tandem with what his partner, fellow New Zealand rowing representative Juliette Haigh, decides about her sporting future.

A three-time world champion herself, Haigh, who celebrates her 30th birthday on Saturday, picked up her first Olympic medal this week when she and Rebecca Scown took bronze in the women's pair.

Drysdale made his Olympic debut in a four in 2004, with the crew finishing fifth.

Four years ago, having moved to the single sculls, he was the world champion going into the Beijing Games, but battled illness and had to settle for bronze.

He said he would have been proud of what he had achieved in rowing whatever happened this time around.

But victory removed a monkey off his back - the talk of likening him to West German sculler Peter-Michael Kolbe, who competed in the 1970s and 80s.

"I've had a lot of comparisons to Kolbe, who also got five world titles but failed to win an Olympic gold medal," Drysdale said.

"It was the one thing that was missing, so it's nice to finally achieve it."

NZ Newswire