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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: 24th Jan 1989 (33 years old)
Club: Leander Club Hometown: Twickenham
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Double Olympian John Collins represented GB in the men’s double sculls (M2x) with Jonny Walton in Rio (2016) and with Graeme Thomas in Tokyo (2020).
He was introduced to the sport through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and he went on to break numerous records on the junior and domestic stage.
John’s GB rowing career began at U23 level; he raced in the men’s quad sculls (B4x) in 2010 and 2011.
After racing at various World Cup regattas in 2012 and 2013, his first senior team appearances were in 2014 when he finished sixth at the European Championships in the double sculls (M2x) with Jonny Walton and then seventh at the World Championships. The duo were eighth at both Championships the following year, 2015, and then came fifth at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016in memorable style just a few weeks after winning their first World Cup medal together.
He raced in the men’s quad scull (M4x) throughout the 2017 season, except the European Championships, which he missed through illness. In the World Cup series, the quad won gold, silver and bronze and went on to take a dramatic silver at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton. Just minutes before the final was due to start, Peter Lambert suffered a back injury and was replaced by Graeme Thomas, who steered the boat to an impressive second place.
In 2018, after collecting gold medals at the World Cup I and III regattas, he and the quad came sixth at the European Championships and seventh at the Worlds. Back in the double for 2019, now with Graeme Thomas, he finished fourth at both the European and World Championships.
The combination stayed together for the 2021 season, winning the bronze medal at the European Championships before finishing in fourth place at the Olympic Games.
In 2022, John raced in the single sculls (M1x) at World Cup II and in the quad at World Cup III.
John made his Olympic debut at Rio 2016 and reached the men's double scull final in memorable fashion
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
After finishing fifth in the GB Rowing Team Trials, Collins was once again selected alongside Jonny Walton in the men’s double scull for the 2016 season. They reached the final at the European Championships in Brandenburg, finishing sixth, and improved to fifth at the World Cup in Lucerne before winning a superb silver at the Poznan World Cup – their first senior medals with the GB Rowing Team.
They got off to a slow start at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but won their repechage to reach the semi-finals, where they produced a brilliant performance to hold off multiple crews and secure the top-three finish they needed. Another gutsy display in the final saw Collins and Walton finish a fine fifth overall on their Olympic debuts.
They qualified the men’s double for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with an eighth-placed finish at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette.
They started the season with a similar result at the European Championships in Poznan, missing out on a place in the A final by just five-hundredths of a second. Though also desperately unlucky to finish fourth in their semi-final at the World Cup in Varese – where they were less than a second behind the winners – they did however go on to comfortably win the B final. They then placed fifth in a strong field at the World Cup in Lucerne.
Collins and Walton were first paired together in the double at the 2014 European Championships, finishing sixth. They went one better at the World Cup in Aiguebelette and improved again to place fourth in Lucerne but narrowly missed out on qualification for the A final at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, finishing seventh overall.
Collins had started the Olympiad in a double with Peter Lambert, finishing fourth at the Sydney World Cup. He then raced in a second GB eight at Eton Dorney and Lucerne, finishing fourth and eighth respectively.
Collins won a gold medal in the men’s eight at the 2009 Essen International Regatta before being selected for the 2010 World U23 Championships in Brest, placing ninth in the men’s quad alongside Walton.
He was 14th in the quad at the following year’s championships in Amsterdam, a rare disappointment in a 2011 season that saw Collins help Leander Club break all of the course records on the way to winning the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Collins won the Double Sculls Challenge Cup with Alan Sinclair in 2012 and also coached the victorious Henley RC crew that won the inaugural Junior Women’s Quads at Henley. He competed for GB at the European Championships in Varese, helping the men’s eight to a seventh place overall.
John made his first GB appearances as a junior in 2007. He won bronze in the double and was fifth in the quad at the Munich International Regatta, then claimed bronze in the pair at the Coupe de la Jeunesse.
Club: Leander Club
Boat: Men’s Squad
Coaches: Mark Banks
Learnt to Row: Putney Town Rowing Club
Original Club(s): Putney Town Rowing Club
Original Coach(es): Seamus Keating
Collins first started rowing at Putney Town RC in 2005 when looking for a sport for his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. His dad, Philip, was also a rower and suggested he would be good at the sport.
The following year, aged 17, he broke Sir Steve Redgrave’s record as the youngest ever winner of the Pairs Head of the River.
He is Lottery funded through UK Sport.
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