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Edmunds announces decision to step away from rowing

World Championship medallist & Rio Olympian, Madeleine Edmunds to focus on personal life away from the sport

Madeleine Edmunds has today announced that she is stepping away from the sport of rowing. The 2017 World Championships bronze medallist and 2016 Rio Olympian has made the decision to leave the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre in Penrith and return to her native Queensland.

Edmunds, who first represented Australia in 2008 in the Junior Women’s Double Scull, was crowned Under 23 World Champion in the Women’s Quadruple Scull in 2012 before making her Senior Australian Rowing Team debut in 2013 in South Korea. She went on to represent Australia in the Women’s Quadruple Scull at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and won her first Senior World Championships medal in 2017 alongside Olympia Aldersey in the Women’s Double Scull.

On announcing her decision to step away from the sport, Edmunds said, “Rowing has been a passion of mine for 15 years now, and since I can remember I have wanted to go to the Olympics. Unfortunately, in the last year or so the passion and enjoyment that I had for rowing has changed, and I need to take a step away from it.

Edmunds, who is McVilly-Pearce number 775 and member of Commercial Rowing Club in Queensland, has been battling a number of injuries over the last few years, which was a consideration when deciding to step away from the sport.

Maddie Edmunds (Copyright Rowing Australia)

“My rowing career has been riddled with injuries which I have had to work through with the support of amazing medical staff, it is hard to mention every one of them as there have been so many. Thank you to everyone of you for helping me be a member of the Australian rowing team for the last 11 years, I really could not have done it without you. I would especially like to thank Kellie Wilkie, Dr Larissa Trease, Dr Jeff Conn and Ivan Hooper for supporting me for almost my entire rowing career, seeing me through so many tough times and taking me to some interesting places for treatment.

“In recent times support has come from all of the support staff at the Hancock Prospecting Women’s NTC and I’m incredibly grateful for all the work the team has done to support me on my journey.

“Thank you also to John Keogh for providing me the opportunity to be a part of the Hancock Prospecting Women’s NTC. Thank you to Ellen Randell for her incredible passion, patience and joy while coaching me for the last two years.

“To Tom Westgarth, thank you for your friendship and coach’s eye for the last nine years, including the Olympic Games. You made me into the driven athlete I have been, especially in the last few years. I truly could not have done this without your unwavering support through all of my injuries and sicknesses.

“I would also like to thank Rowing Australia for the support they have shown me over the years, and in the lead up to my decision to step away from the sport. Their support, along with that of Hancock Prospecting, has been invaluable over the years.”

Edmunds, who is the daughter of Olympic medalist Ian Edmunds, and older sister to fellow World Championships medalist, Jacinta, rounded off her statement by thanking her family and the rowing community for its unwavering support.

“Thank you to my family for supporting me through these years of rowing, I found rowing through my family and I am so happy to have been so lucky. Thank you also to my amazing partner Jirik, for helping me to see that I could do more in anything I put my mind to. 

“And finally, thank you to the greater rowing community, there is nothing like the support you feel from this group of people and I am so proud to have been a part of it for so many years. I am looking forward to what life has in store for me now as I start my “real” life!”

Maddie Edmunds (Copyright RA)

Rowing Australia Performance Director, Bernard Savage said, “We have seen over many years the calibre of athlete Maddie is, someone who has persevered despite many injuries. It is clear that Maddie has spent time considering this decision, so while we are obviously disappointed to see her step away from the sport, we respect her decision and will do all we can to assist her as she focuses more on life outside the boat.

“Maddie is an athlete who has contributed greatly to the Senior Australian Rowing Team over the last six years and recently as a member of the Rowing Australia Athletes’ Commission. Maddie has clearly made an impact on the group in her time at the NTC, and will definitely be missed, but I know the athletes, coaches and staff wish her all the best and genuinely want to see Maddie happy.

“We will continue to engage with Maddie and remain in close contact. I have made it very clear that should she wish to return to the sport, we will support and assist her accordingly if the time comes.”