24 September 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
Ondřej Synek is retiring.
Yesterday, Czech sculler Ondřej Synek, a month shy of his 39th birthday, announced on Facebook that his rowing career was over. Synek wrote:
It was long, it was beautiful but my rowing mission is done. I am so proud I could represent my country and club.
My retirement is here!
Then he kept on thanking people and organisations which have helped him through his long rowing career. And after having rowed for more than 21 years, there were a lot of people to thank.
After his announcement, congratulations upon his fantastic career were expressed on social media.
Synek became world champion in the single sculls five times, in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. He took two Olympic silver medals in the boat class at the 2008 and 2012 Games. After two Olympic silver medals at these games, the Czech sculler was a favourite for the gold in Rio. However, once again he was denied becoming Olympic champion when his archrival Mahé Drysdale took his second straight gold in the single sculls. Synek was even pushed down to a bronze by the Croatian Damir Martin, who took the silver.
In his final quest to win an Olympic gold, Synek aimed to race at the Tokyo Games, but in June he announced that he was not going to the 2020 Games.
Having taken a total of 20 Olympic, World and European medals in the single sculls, Ondřej Synek is by far the most successful single sculler in the history of the sport of rowing never to have won an Olympic gold medal.
He also took a World bronze in the double sculls in 2003 and became European champion in the eights in 2007.
In December 2018, Synek was World Rowing Athlete of the Month. Read the interview here.