31 July 2020: The End Of An Era

Jurgen Grobler is 74 on 31 July 2020 – which is also the final day of the Olympic Regatta, after which the most successful Olympic coach of all time will retire.

25 July 2019

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch reads the rowing news.

A nice piece of rowing writing by Matt Murphy in the online Independent  has Jurgen Grobler confirming that he will retire formally as the GB Chief Coach for both the men and the women after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, saying that he does not want to be ‘carried out’.

After coaching an East German single sculler to Bronze in the 1972 Games, he was responsible for gold medal-winning GDR crews at every Olympics from 1976 to 1988 (bar the Eastern Bloc boycotted 1984 Games). Moving to Britain in 1990, further Olympic Gold came with the GB pair in 1992 and 1996, with the four in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, and with the four and the eight in 2016. Arguably, Tokyo 2020 may be his greatest challenge yet. With many top oarsmen and women retiring after Rio 2016, GB international rowing results since then have not been what Brits have come to expect. However, as the splendid recent biography by Chris Dodd and Hugh Matheson clearly illustrates, in the past, Grobler has proved capable of turning things around at the very last minute.

The man behind the champions. Grobler recently took charge of the women as well as the men. This had doubled his workload, but has it doubled his chance of a Gold Medal? Picture: British Rowing.

Whatever happens in Tokyo, it should be quite a retirement party for the man who, at the present count, has been instrumental in producing 22 Olympic Gold Medals over five decades.

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