Olympic champion Katherine Copeland has announced her retirement from international rowing after a dazzling 11-year career.
The 28-year-old competed at two Olympics and secured a historic gold alongside lightweight double sculls partner Sophie Hoskings at London 2012.
Having also reigned supreme at the 2015 European Championships, the Ashington-born rower competed at four World Championship events – winning silver at Aiguebelette in 2015.
Copeland later received an MBE from the 2013 New Year’s honours list for her gold medal winning exploits on Super Saturday.
Reflecting on a medal-laden career Copeland said: “I have absolutely loved my time with the GB Rowing Team.
“To be able to wake up and train every day, travel abroad and race internationally has been a dream come true.
“My favourite parts have been everything from big to small.
“From winning a gold medal at a home Olympics [London 2012] and making friends that will last me a lifetime, to the day-to-day bits I’ll miss like rowing in my single along the Tees.
“I honestly can’t thank everyone enough who has helped me on my journey, I couldn’t have achieved any of it on my own and I will be forever grateful.
“I can’t wait to watch the team continue to grow and succeed, and I’ll be backing everyone at Tokyo 2020!”
The Northumberland-based rower began her love affair with the sport as a 14-year-old while studying at Yarm School, before later becoming a member of Tees Rowing Club.
British junior success soon followed after securing a momentous gold in the quad and bronze in the lightweight double at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic festival.
After finishing first in the lightweight women’s single sculls at the 2012 GB rowing team senior trials, Copeland secured a spot in the Olympic class double scull with partner Hosking.
The pair quickly worked up a medal winning partnership after recording impressive finishes prior to London 2012.
Then at her home games Copeland and Hosking blitzed the field to finish two seconds clear of their rivals and clinch one of Great Britain’s historic six gold medal victories on ‘Super Saturday’.
Following her retirement Brendan Purcell, British Rowing Director of Performance said: “Kat has been an incredible athlete and ambassador for rowing for more than a decade.
“Her drive and commitment to the sport she loves is second to none, demonstrated by the success she has been able to achieve over the years.
“Kat’s big smile will be missed. We wish her all the best for the next chapter.”
Still planning to remain involved with the British Rowing programme, Copeland set her sights on helping the next generation of Olympic hopefuls.
“I would love to continue working in the sport and wellness sector,” she said.
“I’ve always been passionate about promoting women’s sport and encouraging women to take up or continue exercising as they get older, so my aim is to find a role that can incorporate this.”