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The GB Rowing Team is the high performance arm of British Rowing. Rowing is the nation’s most continuously successful Olympic sport, having won a gold medal in every Olympic Games since 1984, and has won six Paralympic golds since the sport was introduced to the Paralympic Games programme in 2008.
GB Rowing Team
Rower // Men's Squad Date of Birth: 13th Dec 1988 (32 years old)
Club: Leander Club Height: 198.00 Hometown: Willingham
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Charles Cousins is one of the GB Rowing Team's leading scullers and raced with the men's quad in the London 2012 Olympic final.
Charles Cousins is a graduate from the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme. He has also helped the quad set new medal milestones at the World Rowing Championships during the current Olympiad.
Injury has forced him to miss the 2016 season but Cousins will be looking to come back stronger than ever.
Charles has helped the men’s quadruple scull set new medal milestones at the World Championships
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
World and European Silver Medallist Men's Quadruple Scull
World Bronze Medallist Men's Quadruple Scull
Olympic Finalist Men's Quadruple Scull
World U23 Champion Men's Double Scull
World U23 Bronze Medallist Men's Double Scull
After winning the men’s single sculls at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials for a third successive year, injury forced Cousins to miss the first three regattas of 2015 but he returned to help the men’s quad for Rio 2016 with a fourth-placed finish at the World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette.
Cousins was in the quad throughout the Rio Olympiad, which started with a gold medal at the Sydney World Cup. The now familiar line-up of Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Cousins and Peter Lambert raced together for the first time at Eton Dorney. They finished fifth there and, with Jonny Walton subbing for the injured Thomas in Lucerne, improved to fourth before winning bronze at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju – the first ever world medal for a GB men’s quad.
The crew continued to make great strides during 2014, winning silver at the European Championships in Belgrade before adding world cup gold in both Aiguebelette and Lucerne. Mature and confident performances saw them win their heat and semi-final at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam to set up a showdown with Ukraine, who had beaten GB to the European title. The final was closely fought but Ukraine were able to hold off a dramatic late surge from the Brits, who missed out on gold by just nine-hundredths of a second.
Still an under-23 athlete, Cousins nevertheless established himself in the senior quad in 2009 and won world cup silver in Banyoles and Lucerne. However, illness struck the crew just before the World Rowing Championships in Poznan and they had to withdraw after their heat.
They enjoyed better fortunes the following year in New Zealand as Cousins, Sam Townsend, Bill Lucas and Stephen Rowbotham became the first GB men’s quad to reach a World Championship final since 1982, finishing fifth. They also won bronze medals at the World Cups in Munich and Lucerne.
After missing 2011 through injury, Cousins returned to the quad in 2012. They finished seventh at the World Cups in Belgrade and Lucerne before improving to fourth in Munich. Cousins was selected for his Olympic debut and reached the final at London 2012, finishing fifth alongside Stephen Rowbotham, Tom Solesbury and Matt Wells.
Charles made his way into the sport by completing testing for the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme at his local school and joining Rob Roy BC where he was taught to row by Adrian Cassidy.
He made his GB Rowing Team debut at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Amsterdam, finishing fifth in the men’s pair with Moe Sbihi, and raced with Bill Lucas in the double scull throughout 2007, appearing at two senior World Cups before winning bronze at the World U23 Championships in Glasgow.
They returned to the World U23s the following season to win a brilliant gold in Brandenburg and they also finished 11th at the European Championships in Athens. Charles was also part of the men’s quad that narrowly missed out on Beijing Olympic qualification during the 2008 World Cup series.
Club: Leander Club
Boat: Men’s Squad
Coaches: Paul Stannard
Learnt to Row: Rob Roy in GB Rowing’s World Class Start Programme
Original Club(s): Rob Roy, Reading University Boat Club
Original Coach(es): Adrian Cassidy
Cousins is currently studying for a degree in psychology at Reading University. When not rowing, he enjoys travelling, scuba diving, playing guitar and learning foreign languages.
He is an Athlete Mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and a Sporting Champions Mentor for Sport England.
Cousins is Lottery funded through UK Sport.
“There are some very big calls to come in the next few weeks and I try not to think about it,” said Paul Bennett, World Champion in the men’s eights of this week’s GB Rowing Team Olympic-season trials.
It was Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins' day after all. Three previous silvers for Grainger and a bronze for Watkins were turned into gold on Eton-Dorney lake in the space of six and a half epic minutes.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning opened Team GB's gold medal count in the women's pair at Eton Dorney today and with that victory wrote themselves into the history books as Britain's first female Olympic gold medallists in the sport.
Spectators came in their droves to Eton-Dorney from early today to watch the opening day of the Olympic Rowing Regatta.