Olympic silver medallist Jess Eddie announces her retirement from international rowing

Jess Eddie, who won silver in the women’s eight at her third Olympic Games at Rio 2016, has decided to bring the curtain down on her international rowing career

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Jess Eddie (middle) and the silver medal-winning women's eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo: Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images)

Olympic silver medallist Jessica Eddie has announced her retirement from international rowing, having competed for Great Britain for over 16 years.

The Durham rower represented Team GB at three Olympic Games, winning silver at the third attempt at Rio 2016, as well as racing at ten World Rowing Championships, winning two bronze medals in the women’s eight.

Eddie stepped away from the sport after Rio 2016 to pursue a Masters degree at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in collaboration with the Royal College of Art. While not training with the GB Rowing Team at Caversham, Eddie has kept her hand in rowing by training on the Tideway and coaching at Putney High School.

She said: “I’m at a point in my life now where I want to take the next step in my career, which is why I’ve taken the decision to retire from international rowing. It’s a sad decision for me but, having recently completed my Masters at the V&A, I’m excited to now focus on forging a new career in the arts and design world, which I have been passionate about for a long while.”

Eddie made her GB debut at the 2001 World Rowing Junior Championships, racing to sixth in the women’s quadruple sculls and finishing eighth in the same event the following year.

That was followed by bronze at the World U23 Championships in 2003 and 2004. She made her senior debut at World Cup 1 in 2004, winning a bronze in the women’s four.

Eddie reached 12 World Championships and Olympic Games finals between 2004 and 2016, including ten in row in the women’s eight to finish her career. World Championships bronze medals came in 2007 and 2011, as well as a European Championships silver in 2014.

She finished fifth in her first two Olympic Games, both in the women’s eight but concluded her international career by being crowned European champion and then going on to win a memorable silver medal at the Olympics in Rio – the first GB women’s eight to ever stand on the podium.

Eddie added: “Reflecting on my time in rowing I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of it and feel like I have achieved everything I wanted to.

“European champion, Olympic silver medallist, and having won every domestic title possible, there is nothing, I feel, that remains to be achieved.

“None of this, though, would have been possible without my incredible crew mates and the team behind us, who have supported me every step of the way. As rowers on the GB Rowing Team we are incredibly privileged to get the support we do, and I want to thank everyone who has made it all possible for me.

“I very much plan on staying within rowing and continue to enjoy my regular paddles on the Tideway. I’ll be supporting the current GB Rowing Team, as they build towards their biggest moment at Tokyo 2020.”

Paul Thompson, British Rowing Chief Coach for Women, said: “Jess has had an incredible career spanning 15 years from junior to senior representative; a World Championship medallist and an Olympic silver medallist among many other accolades.

“Jess brought drive, dedication, perseverance and an abundance of passion to the sport she loves. She was a well-respected athlete and leader with great character, who fulfilled an important role as a Rower Representative within the GB Rowing Team for many years. These attributes made her an incredible role model for rowers and women in sport.

“I wish Jess all the best as she moves into the art world and onto other projects.”