Triple Olympic champion Pete Reed OBE announces rowing retirement

Pete Reed OBE, who won gold at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, will retire with immediate effect after a rowing career spanning nearly two decades


Three-time Olympic gold medallist Pete Reed OBE has announced his retirement from international rowing with immediate effect.

Reed has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, winning gold at three successive Olympic Games, at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, as well as five World Rowing Championship titles, making him one of rowing’s most decorated athletes.

Commenting on his decision to retire, Reed said: “It has been a huge privilege to represent Great Britain through almost two decades in the sport of rowing. To be able to travel the world, competing in a sport that I love, alongside such hard working and inspirational teammates has been incredible.

“I wish I could carry on in our wonderful sport forever but, looking back, I have absolutely no regrets. I am disappointed that I will not be able to go for a fourth consecutive gold medal at Tokyo 2020, but I have to be realistic; training and performance isn’t improving fast enough.

“Despite my best efforts, and with all my experience, I know I won’t get back to my best and I don’t want to be slowing down our great team as they work towards their dreams.

“Despite my best efforts, and with all my experience, I know I won’t get back to my best”

“I want to unreservedly thank the Royal Navy for their constant support from way back before my career began. They took a big chance with me as a young man with potential and I look forward to resuming my military career following my retirement from rowing.

“I would also like to thank my teammates. I’ve won major titles with 18 remarkable athletes and I want to thank them all for their help and support. To Jürgen [Grobler] and Hodgey [Andrew Triggs Hodge], there are no words.

“It is a relief to call time and it feels absolutely right to do so now. I look forward to taking more photos, going to bed after 9pm, telling more stories and going on a few new adventures.

“I don’t know what comes next but I would like to wish the GB Rowing Team all the success on the road to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”

Reed was one of the first of a new generation of international rowers who have seen the sport break down barriers and challenge stereotypes, having come from a rural background and comprehensive school education.

As a serving Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, it was whilst operational in The Gulf onboard HMS Exeter that he first discovered rowing after setting the fastest time over 1000m in a Fleet competition.

After being encouraged to take up competitive rowing by the Commanding Officer, Reed duly took to the water at the University of the West of England (UWE) in September 2001.

Under the guidance of Olympic silver medallist Fred Smallbone, and with immense physical aptitude for the sport, Reed had a meteoric rise through the ranks. UWE Boat Club President to Oxford Blue to world champion all within four years of picking up an oar.

Reed rowed in two Boat Races for the University of Oxford and established himself at the top of British rowing by winning Senior Trials every year for two full Olympiads alongside partners Andrew Triggs Hodge and Alex Gregory.

Reed was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Years Honours List after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and an OBE after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for his services to rowing.

Jürgen Grobler, Reed’s coach throughout his time in the national team, said: “I want to thank Pete for his incredible hard work and dedication to the GB Rowing Team over the past 15 years. His attitude to training and competition, commitment to improvement, and will to win, will serve as inspiration to the future generations of GB rowers for years to come.”

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