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Former Cambridge University Boat Club rower Tom Ransley announces international retirement

Great Britain rower Tom Ransley. Picture: Naomi Baker
Great Britain rower Tom Ransley. Picture: Naomi Baker

Olympic gold medallist Tom Ransley has announced his retirement from international rowing after 11 years.

The former Cambridge University Boat Club member has decided to hang up his oar aged 34.

Ransley rowed in the Boat Race twice for the Light Blues, in the defeats in 2008 and 2009.

He made his Great Britain debut at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships in 2007, and a year later was in the senior squad in a four at the Rowing World Cup in Poznan alongside then Cambridge team-mates Henry Pelly, Peter Marsland and Tobias Garnett.

Ransley, a long-established member of the GB men’s eight, went on to earn 23 international medals, including being a two-time world champion, and was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2016.

The top accolades were two Olympic medals, a gold and a bronze.

It was at the London Olympics in 2012 that Ransley was part of the GB eight that finished third, an experience that he describes as “bittersweet”.

“It was a tough one to take at the time; I don’t think we did anything wrong, the Germans were just a really slick crew so hats off to them. I’m so proud of the guys’ effort – we obviously went out to win it and left nothing on the water,” he said.

“It was an absolute privilege to be able to race at a home Games in front of an awesome Dorney crowd and, over time, the bronze has meant a huge amount to me. When I take the medal out on school visits and see kids’ faces light up, I’m really glad in hindsight to have that medal.”

He bounced back in style at the Rio Olympics in 2016, reaching the top step on the podium with the eight.

“Rio was very special,” he said. “I had a brutal time trying to get myself there, as did the rest of the crew

“There were some really tough individual journeys along the way and I’m incredibly proud to be in the company of that eight.

“There’s so many legends in the boat – world and Olympic gold medallists – and working directly under Jürgen (Grobler) is always an honour.

“I have lots of special memories of that tight-knit team.

“The race itself felt like it was a decade in the making; it was what I’d been aiming for my whole career.

“To be able to win the big one in an awesome setting was amazing.”

Another career highlight was the 2013 season.

“We became world champions, set a course record on the Sydney Olympic course and won two world cups; the first time ever that a GB eight had won a world championships,” he said.

“It was great to come off the back of the bittersweet London Olympics and find some world-class form.

“We then managed to defend that world title in 2014. For a crew who had always been near the top but not quite there, it felt amazing to finish on top of the world and then defend it.”

Brendan Purcell, the British Rowing director of performance, said: “Tom has had an outstanding career representing the GB Rowing Team.

“His incredible career as an athlete is a testament to his professionalism and drive and will undoubtedly inspire many to follow after him.

“I am confident that he will go on to have every success in the future.”

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