Of course time moves on and everything must change. Since starting this website way back in 2012 a great deal has happened in my rowing and personal life. I suppose the most recent and significant change has been my retirement from the great sport of rowing. It was a decision that came easily, the time was right and I don't and won't ever regret leaving competitive rowing. I have left feeling totally content with everything I have achieved in the sport. Please do read my retirement blog:
Somehow I found a way. Nothing about the journey was easy, so many times I nearly packed it all in and gave up before having ever even won a race, but then I found my way. I discovered how and why I was doing it, motivation was always there and after that I barely ever lost a race. If I did it was ok, no big deal, I knew how to rectify it.
I've walked away with five world Championship titles, two Olympic gold medals, a world best time (which won't last forever!) and as one of only three men in recent times to have won six major titles in consecutive years. The other two being Eric Murray & Hamish Bond from the Kiwi Pair. I'm proud of this, proud to have worked it all out and proud of the crews I've been lucky enough to be a part of. If you read my retirement blog you'll understand just what a team effort this has been, none of it has been done alone.
My rowing story has ended, I may take to the river on a Sunday morning with some mates, but nothing much more than that. Now I'm looking towards other challenges, ventures and exciting projects. Where that will lead I don't know yet but please do stay in touch!
Alex first learnt to row at Evesham Rowing club while completing his A-levels and, as a relative late starter to the sport, he made rapid progression into the British system. However, not everything was straightforward. He won his first GB vest in 2004 at the U23 World Championships in Poland, where he finished 11th in the quadruple scull. In 2005 he came fourth in the double scull, and he came eighth in the single scull the following year. These disappointing world rankings did not deter him. His first senior season came in 2007 where he raced in the quadruple scull but again finished a disappointing 8th. In 2008, while Alex was injured, the crew narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification, which looked like the end of a very short unsatisfying rowing career.
Alex was however selected as ‘spare man’ for the Olympic Games. Grasping this opportunity he travelled to Beijing with the team. This turned out to be a pivotal time in his career and where he made the decision to swap ‘sculling’ for ‘sweep’ rowing. With a new outlook on the sport and new focuses Alex took the 2009 season by storm, beginning with a win at the GB rowing senior trials in the pair. From here he gained selection into the renowned men’s coxless four.
Alex established his place in the new GB four during the 2009 World Cup series, going on to win the World Championships in Poland where Alex became World Champion for the first time.
He then raced again in the men’s four for the 2010 season, taking two golds and a bronze in the World Cup series. Unfortunately the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand did not allow the crew to continue their exceptional run of medals and the crew finished in fourth place. After the string of frustrating outcomes earlier in Alex’s rowing career this did not put him off and he came back even stronger for the 2011 season.
Alex was moved to the prestigious stroke seat of the four and the 2011 season was by far his best to date. As an unbeaten crew throughout the season they travelled to Lake Bled in Slovenia for the World Championships, where they won gold in great style, naming Alex World Champion for the second time.
This could not put Alex in a better position heading into the 2012 season. With a change in crew personnel Alex managed to hold onto his seat in the four and after a difficult start to the season the crew gradually found their feet. What developed throughout the world cup series could only be described as an intense ashes clash between an incredibly talented Australian crew containing rowing legend, three time Olympic Gold medalist Drew Ginn. Beaten into second place by the Aussie crew in the last race before the Olympic games the pressure was on for Alex and his crew to turn the result around.
The Olympic regatta was a thrilling battle ending with Alex and his crew crossing the line over a second ahead of their Australian rivals.
Alex was titled Olympic champion on the 4th August 2012 under the watchful eye of his young son who was most disappointed that the medal was not chocolate!
Moving into the next Olympiad Alex has his sights set firmly on repeating the feat and winning gold in Rio 2016. This campaign has started very well with a 2013 World Championship gold in Korea, but this time in the eight.