Alex Gregory announces his retirement from rowing
Olympic champion in London and Rio hangs up his oar after over a decade representing Great Britain on the water
Double Olympic gold medallist Alex Gregory has announced his retirement from the sport, over 12 years after pulling on a Great Britain vest for the first time.
Gregory’s Olympic successes came in the men’s four, continuing the GB boat’s unbeaten run at the Games in both London and Rio de Janeiro.
The Cheltenham-born rower’s first gold in London coincided with the second golds of Pete Reed, Andrew T Hodge and Tom James, with Gregory only having switched from sculling to sweep in 2008.
Since 2009, Gregory has claimed five World Championship titles – three in the four and two in the eight – and two European Championships golds, as well as claiming his second Olympic title in August 2016.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky to pursue something I love for so long. Rowing has taught me so much about myself and those around me. Through the continued support of the GB Rowing Team, family and friends I found a way to reach my goals.
“I will miss being a part of something very rare and very special, especially in this incredibly successful era of British Olympic sport. It has been a privilege to represent my country in rowing and I’ll hold onto this time with very fond memories.
“I’ve only ever felt supported on my rowing journey so to coaches who have pushed and guided me, friends who have encouraged and understood me, public who have continually sent messages of support, crew mates who have pulled me across the line and family who have never faltered – thank you!”
Gregory graduated from GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme, having learned to row at Evesham RC and going on to race for Reading University BC.
He made his GB debut in 2004 at the World U23 Championships in the quadruple sculls, following it up with fourth place in the double sculls in 2005, and finishing his U23 career in the single scull in 2006 before moving up to the senior ranks.
He was selected as a spare for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games before switching to sweep rowing, going on to win his first World Championships title in the four in 2009.
Olympic gold wasn’t far away, with Gregory part of the victorious men’s four on Super Saturday at Eton Dorney in 2012.
He went on to complete a ‘golden Olympiad’, winning Worlds gold in the eight in 2013, the four in 2014 and the eight again in 2015.
Then he teamed up with Moe Sbihi, George Nash and Constantine Louloudis at Rio 2016 as the four beat the Australian crew by nearly two seconds in the shadow of Christ the Redeemer.
Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director, said: “Alex has been the consummate team player and crew maker in his stellar career. He was ‘found’ in the early days of the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme by coach, Mark Earnshaw, and emerged as a top senior talent after the 2008 Beijing Games where he was a reserve and got his real Olympic inspiration.
“Since then has been twice Olympic Champion and a multi World and European Champion alongside building a family of 3 children with his partner Emily who has been a wonderful support to him and us.
“He can look back with a smile on his rowing career as one of the best GB rowers of all time. I wish him all the best and I am sure he will bring his many talents to bear on an interesting and successful career.”
Gregory, who was Leander Club captain in 2015, has three children with his partner Emily and is now looking forward to spending more time with his family and indulging in his passion for traveling and wildlife.
“One of the beautiful things about rowing is creating something that is more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s this challenge and struggle alongside others that I’ll miss the most,” Gregory added. “I’ll be supporting my friends now from the comfort of home and enjoying every minute of their success, while spending more time with my own family. Having missed two of the three children’s births, I owe them weekends!
“I’m now leaving the sport with far more knowledge and experience than when came into it so I aim to push myself into other areas, Wildlife, the outdoors and adventure is where my passions lie. My family is now the priority, but I’ve learnt that if there’s something you want to do, you should just go and do it!”