Navy Olympic Rower Pays Tribute To Retiring Coach

A Royal Navy Olympian has paid tribute to Jurgen Grobler, as the coach decided to step down after 50 years in the sport.

Many describe Grobler as the greatest ever Olympic Games coach, following his involvement in 20 champions' journeys to 33 gold medals.

Lieutenant Commander Pete Reed was among one of eight British crews to have worked under the coach in the most successful UK rowing era of all time.

Lt Cdr Reed, who won the first of his three Olympic Gold Medals in 2008, told Forces News that Grobler "wasn't scared" of making tough decisions, and did so with "such integrity and such credibility".

"I've been on the receiving end of some of those tough decisions, but I can take them because they’re delivered so well," he said.

"Beyond anything else he’s fair and must be tough but he gets it right and he got it right his whole career, just a flawless delivery for us since 1992.”

Grobler's decision will have come as a shock to many, with British Rowing now preparing for the Tokyo games, postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus.

He says he cannot commit to another four-year cycle and the build-up to Paris 2024.

“[It was a] privilege to have trained for him, under him and he was the staple going back in Team GB from 1992, he was the fifth man in every four, he was the third man in every pair," Lt Cdr Reed said.

"If we see Rio as his last Olympics, winning the four and the eight, and then helping this new generation of athletes to be better than ever before, new personal bests, breaking British records on the odometer, two guys going under 5'40" now, he’s left them in the best possible shape."

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