Three-time Olympic gold medallist Pete Reed is hanging up the oar for the final time after announcing his retirement from international rowing.
For three successive Games, Reed has found himself atop the Olympic podium for Team GB but the challenge of going four from four is one he deems a stroke too far, believing his performance and training are not showing the required progression.
But when it comes to top-level achievements, few can match those of the 36-year-old.
His accolades stretch even beyond those at Olympic level, five times a world champion with eight world medals coming across three different events.
But as Reed prepares to bid farewell to the boats, it’s a goodbye he has no doubt he will be able to deliver fondly.
“It has been a huge privilege to represent Great Britain through almost two decades in the sport of rowing,” he said.
“To be able to travel the world, competing in a sport that I love, alongside such hard working and inspirational teammates has been incredible.
“I wish I could carry on in our wonderful sport forever but, looking back, I have absolutely no regrets. I am disappointed that I will not be able to go for a fourth consecutive gold medal at Tokyo 2020, but I have to be realistic; training and performance isn’t improving fast enough.
“Despite my best efforts, and with all my experience, I know I won’t get back to my best and I don’t want to be slowing down our great team as they work towards their dreams.
“I want to unreservedly thank the Royal Navy for their constant support from way back before my career began. They took a big chance with me as a young man with potential and I look forward to resuming my military career following my retirement from rowing.
“I would also like to thank my teammates. I’ve won major titles with 18 remarkable athletes and I want to thank them all for their help and support. To Jürgen [Grobler] and Hodgey [Andrew Triggs Hodge], there are no words.
“It is a relief to call time and it feels absolutely right to do so now.”
Going to bed later than 9pm and telling the stories of his past are just some of the things Reed is now looking forward to – with plenty of tales to tell ever since first stepping into the boat.
As a serving Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, it was whilst operational in The Gulf onboard HMS Exeter that he first discovered rowing after setting the fastest time over 1000m in a Fleet competition.
But it was his rural background and comprehensive school roots that provided a proud aspect of his journey, taking him all the way to his first Games in Beijing 2008.
He wasted little time in tasting success while representing Team GB, joining Tom James, Steve Williams and Andrew Triggs Hodge in flying high with gold in the men’s coxless four.
Four years later, on Reed’s own Eton Dorney lakes, he was at it again at London 2012, successfully defending his crown with James, Triggs Hodge and Alex Gregory for company.
Come Rio 2016 the hat-trick was well and truly completed, this time in the eight, helping Team GB win their first medal in the event for 16 years and just their second since 1912 – a fitting finale to his time on the Olympic stage.
But it’s his efforts, dedication and longstanding commitment outside of the boat that will be equally missed, awarded an MBE in 2009 while his services to rowing were recognised with an OBE after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – the one that will prove his last.
Jürgen Grobler, Reed’s coach throughout his time in the national team, said: “I want to thank Pete for his incredible hard work and dedication to the GB Rowing Team over the past 15 years.
“His attitude to training and competition, commitment to improvement, and will to win, will serve as inspiration to the future generations of GB rowers for years to come.”