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Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Scott Brennan, announces retirement from rowing

David Crawshay (left) and Scott Brennan celebrate winning gold in the Men's Double Scull at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

David Crawshay (left) and Scott Brennan celebrate winning gold in the Men’s Double Scull at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Australian Rowing Team member and Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, Scott Brennan, has formally announced his retirement from rowing.

The 32-year-old who, with David Crawshay won gold in Beijing 2008 in the men’s double scull, has been battling a persistent upper back injury originally sustained in the weeks leading into the London 2012 Olympic Games, which has meant he has had to call time on his elite rowing career.

“I have been rowing for 20 years and through this sport I have formed a large part of my own identity. To be forced by injury into the decision to walk away has been unpleasant to say the least, but also unavoidable. I consider myself fortunate that I have a medical career that can, to an extent, fill the void that rowing will leave behind, although nothing could replace the thrill of sitting on the start line of an Olympic Games representing your country.”

The Canberra-based doctor, who is from Tasmania originally, added: “I have tried everything possible for over two years with the support of an incredible medical team to overcome this injury but unfortunately it is now time to retire and focus my energies elsewhere. The recent weeks spent coming to terms with this decision has been a grieving process, but this is over now and time spent feeling sorry for yourself is time wasted – so I will look to medicine for my next challenge.”

The triple Olympian began competing for Australia in 2000 when he made his debut at 17 years of age in the Junior Men’s Quadruple Scull at the World Rowing Junior Championships, while in 2001, at the same event, he won his first international medal, silver, in the Junior Men’s Single Scull. He went on to claim gold in the Men’s single scull at the World Rowing U23 Championships while during his senior career took home five World Rowing Cup medals.

The Lindisfarne RC member is probably best known to the Australian public for his fantastic Olympic gold-medal winning performance alongside David Crawshay in 2008. Under the guidance of Rhett Ayliffe, the duo won their heat, their semi-final and then beat Estonia and Great Britain to finish top of the podium in China.

“Winning gold with Crawsh is of course the highlight of my career. It has been a sad day to know that I won’t be rowing in the same team as him anymore as our entire Olympic careers have been together. We worked so closely and under such intensity for the better part of a decade, I wouldn’t have wanted to have won gold with anyone else, and I dare say I couldn’t have won it with anyone else either. He is the brother I never had and I’m truly grateful for the friendship we will always have.”

“I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has supported me over my years of international rowing and beyond. I could not have done it without the tremendous support of my family, of my partner Kim (Crow), of Rowing Australia, the medical support staff, my recent coaches Lyall McCarthy, Rhett Ayliffe, and Sam LeCompte (deceased 2005) and all other coaches who have helped over the past 20 years and of course my team-mates.

“Special mention must also go to the staff of the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department, who have generously allowed me to chase two dreams at once, for which I am immensely grateful.

“I’m looking forward to directly supporting Kim and the entire Australian Rowing Team on their path to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.”

Rowing Australia’s High Performance Director, Chris O’Brien said: “Scott has represented Australia over the last 14 years to the highest distinction. His Olympic gold medal at Beijing will see him go down in the annals of Australian rowing history, and justly so.

“Scott has been a fantastic role model over the years to many Australian rowers and I have no doubt that he will continue do so even though he is no longer competing. We wish him every success with his medical career and his future.”

 

Mens Doubles-8

Scott Brennan and David Crawshay training at Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra