Tokyo 2020 Olympian Oliver Cook retires

Oliver ‘Ollie’ Cook has retired from the GB Rowing Team. Ollie began rowing in Windsor at his local club, Eton Excelsior where he became the club’s first junior rower as a 12-year-old


Ollie Cook (second from left) with his crewmates at the European Rowing Championships in 2019

He made his junior GB debut in the Men’s four (M4-) at the 2008 Coupe de la Jeunesse and represented his country as a junior and at U23 level before becoming part of the senior squad in 2012, making his senior debut in the Men’s eight (M8+) at the 2012 European Championships.

He won gold in the Men’s coxed pair (M2+) with Callum McBrierty and cox Henry Fieldman at the 2016 World Rowing Championships and became double European Champion in the Men’s four (M4-), with Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie, winning gold in 2019 and 2021. He realised his Olympic dream by competing at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games where he finished fourth in the Men’s four (M4-).

Ollie tested out his coastal rowing skills in 2022, competing at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Pembrokeshire where he reunited with cox Henry Fieldman, Matt Rossiter and GB team mates Jacob Dawson and Richard Clarke to win gold in the Coastal Men’s Coxed Quad (CM4x+).

Ollie now works at the University of Oxford where he has helped start a sustainability and innovation-focused fellowship programme called the Oxford SDG Impact Lab. The Lab has already been hugely successful with partners from the United Nations to BMW and has exciting plans for the future.

Commenting on his decision to retire from the GB Rowing Team, Ollie said: “I’ve been so fortunate to be part of the GB Rowing Team for the last 10 years, to represent my country and to achieve my goal of going to the Olympics. I’ve been teammates with the most talented athletes and have been challenged, mentored and looked after by some of the best coaches and support staff in the world.

“Despite it always being my plan to start working towards new exciting goals after the Tokyo Olympics, doing this wasn’t an easy decision, namely because it meant leaving such a great group of people behind. I wish them all the best of luck at the Paris Olympics next summer.”

Paul Stannard, GB Rowing Team Men’s Olympic Head Coach added: “After nine years in the GB Senior Team team culminating in selection for the Tokyo 2020/1 Olympic Games, Ollie took some time out to consider his options. In that period it has been great to witness his significant personal and career successes and all of us in the GB Rowing Team family support him in his decision and wish him the best for the next step in his journey.”