8 November 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
British sculler Vicky Thornley has retired.
After 14 years, almost on the day since she first sat in a boat, 33-year-old Vicky Thornley announced on Instagram that she had decided to “step out of the boat”. She continued writing:
I always knew this decision wouldn’t be easy and it’s incredibly emotional to write this, it makes it real. However, I always said I wanted to walk away knowing hand on heart I given it everything, mind, body and soul. I did that.
You are only as good as your last race and mine was 4th in the single scull at Tokyo 2020. Some may say it is the hardest place to finish, but I showed the best of myself over that eight-day regatta. Delivering everything I had learnt over 14 years under the biggest pressure. I am proud of that.
During her career – the last 11 years as a member of the Team GB – Thornley participated in three Olympic Games, taking a silver medal in the double sculls together with Dame Katherine Grainger in Rio. Thornley’s first Olympic Games, in London, she was a member of the GB eight that placed fifth in the final. In the Tokyo Games this summer, Thornley was close to a medal in the single sculls coming 67 hundredths of a second from taking the bronze.
She has also picked up two medals at the World Championships: a bronze in the eights in 2011 and a silver in the single sculls in 2017. Thornley became European champion in the single sculls in 2017. Furthermore, at the European Championships in 2015, she took a bronze medal in the double sculls together with Grainger and a silver in the single sculls in 2021.
“I have rowed with and worked alongside some of the most driven and focused people on the planet, something I am truly grateful for. The friends I have met through the world of sport and especially the wonderful sport of rowing will be life long, the power of sport really creates an unbreakable bond,” Thornley wrote on Instagram. “Not to mention I met my husband Ricky Egington whilst rowing.”
Thornley grow up in Wrexham, Wales, and after giving up her plans to become a showjumper and a fashion model, she began rowing on 1 November 2007. Three years later, she moved to Henley to join Leander Club where she met her husband to be, two-time Olympic medallist Richard Egington, who also has retired from rowing. They have both been captain at Leander.
They now live in Bix, a village in South Oxfordshire, northwest of Henley.