British Rowing’s chief coach Jürgen Grobler has stepped down from the role after 28 years, the governing body announced on Friday. The 74-year-old German, regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time, coached 20 Olympic champions to 33 gold medals across eight British teams, with success at every Games since 1992.
The German had planned to retire after the Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed back to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have had the most incredible experience with the British rowing team working with fantastic athletes for nearly three decades,” Grobler said in a statement. “This has been a hard and difficult decision but British Rowing has big plans for Paris 2024 and we want to organise it to give the team the best chance of success. I can’t commit for the next four years so I have resigned in order to let everything start now.”
Grobler informed his squad of his decision on Thursday. “For nearly 50 years of my coaching career I have been in the driving seat, working with athletes and fellow coaches. People trusted me to help them achieve their dreams but the show must go on,” he said.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, paid tribute to Grobler for a glittering coaching career. “Behind every great athlete and every great team is a great coach. It gives me great pleasure to pay tribute to Grobler. His dedication is a great example for everyone in the Olympic movement,” Bach said.
Grobler coached East Germany before taking up the British role, mentoring champions at every Olympics since Munich in 1972, excluding the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Games.