Olympian Alan Sinclair announces his retirement from international rowing

Alan Sinclair has announced his intention to step away from the GB Rowing Team to dedicate more time to his family


After an international career spanning over nine years, Olympian Alan Sinclair has announced that he will step away from the GB Rowing Team. Alan’s highly decorated career has included three World Rowing Championships medals, two European Championships medals and a fourth-place finish in the Men’s Pair at Rio 2016.

Explaining the reasons behind his retirement, Alan said: “Performance sport is hugely challenging – particularly the personal sacrifices it often demands of athletes. This is something that I have been acutely aware of since taking up and dedicating most of my life to rowing. I became a father in February 2020, and believed I could be a ‘good’ dad and supportive partner alongside striving for the Olympics in Tokyo. But in order for me to achieve success, I would have needed significantly more support and more flexibility from those most closely involved in managing and coaching me. So I have had to accept that my dream ended – not so much because I won’t be part of Team GB in Japan, which I never took for granted, but because these circumstances mean I never got to trial and find out if I was good enough.”

“While it’s far from my ideal departure from British Rowing, I know I’m very lucky to have a perfect little person to focus on and to take centre stage in the next chapter of my life – she may have my eyes but she’s smart, kind, funny and gorgeous because of her mother, Stephanie, who happens to also deserve more thanks than I can express, for all that she has done, sacrificed and given since being in my life. I’m extraordinarily lucky to have met her and even luckier that she’s still willing to put up with me!”

Alan is grateful to all of those who have helped along the way, “Thank you to all those who have been a part of my journey – those who have guided, supported and invested in me, my teammates and competitors for whom I have the utmost respect, and also, those who doubted me or let me down – I’m grateful for it all because it’s shaped me into who I am today. I came from Inverness as a bag of bones junior with no sign of potential, to now; having travelled, experienced and achieved more than I could ever have imagined. My best memories and relationships have pretty much all been connected to this simple yet extraordinarily complicated and beautiful sport. For that, I will always be in its debt.”

Whilst Alan won’t be travelling to Tokyo this summer, he will be cheering on the GB Rowing Team and the rest of Team GB from home, “I want to say good luck to all my former teammates and all of Team GB for this summer! I’ve often joked about my motto being “try everything twice” and although it didn’t work out for me going to the Olympics again, I’m proud I gave it my all.”

Brendan Purcell, Director of Performance at British Rowing said: “Alan was an important member of the men’s squad for more than nine years, narrowly missing out on a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The past 12 months have been challenging for everyone and we’ve had several conversations with Alan over this time about his future and the challenges he’s faced, juggling a young family and a career in elite sport. While we strive to support all our athletes as best as we can, we have recognised as a programme that we need to understand how we better enable all athletes to thrive and achieve their aspirations regardless of their circumstances. We support the decision he has taken to retire from the sport and would like to thank Alan for his long and positive contribution to British Rowing. We wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

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