FORMER Olympic champion rower Zac Purchase has announced his retirement from the sport.
The former King’s School Worcester pupil decided to spend time away from rowing after he agonisingly missed out on claiming gold at the London Games in 2012.
Although he won silver, the result was seen as a huge blow for the 27-year-old and his partner Mark Hunter who had secured gold in the lightweight double sculls at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In a statement on his website, Purchase, who was also a double world champion, confirmed his retirement and he said he was now looking forward to explore new opportunities.
“I have been part of the GB Rowing team for nearly a decade and during that time have shared a tremendously successful period with some of the world’s finest athletes,” he said.
“Winning the gold medal with Mark at the Beijing Games in 2008 is as memorable today as it was those six years ago. To then have the chance to compete on home water in London and to win silver in front of a rapturous home crowd was an honour and something I will never forget.
“Since London, I have spent time reflecting on those results and I felt it was the right time to step away from rowing to explore other opportunities. I plan to keep fit just in case a sporting challenge presents itself.
“Rowing has played a significant part in my life, and was how I met my wife. I am indebted to everyone who has supported my career as a lightweight athlete over the years, particularly Fliss my wife and my parents. I wish the British Team well in their build up to the Rio Olympics and beyond.”
Sir David Tanner, performance director for the GB Rowing Team added: “Zac burst onto the scene with some outstanding performances as a young, lightweight rower and carried those through into a top-flight Olympic career in the lightweight men’s double.
We wish him well whilst he considers his next steps.”