Two-time Paralympic champion Laurence Whiteley has retired from the GB Rowing Team.
After a nine year career in the sport, the 30-year-old is stepping away to pursue “a new direction”.
Having waited to find the right partner for 18 months, Whiteley teamed up with Lauren Rowles in 2015, and it proved to be a dream pairing in the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls.
The next year they were on top of the podium at the Paralympics in Rio, having fought off competition from the Chinese and French pairs on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Brazil.
Whiteley and Rowles became World Champions in 2019 and European Champions in 2021, before enjoying yet more Paralympic success.
At the delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, the duo obliterated the competition, to take gold. They finished five seconds ahead of their nearest competitors from the Netherlands in the final.
Speaking about his decision to step away from the sport, Whiteley said, “I’ve had a wonderful career with many memorable achievements and experiences. I’m grateful for the support of Paralympics GB and the people I’ve worked with at British Rowing.”
“Rowing the PR2 Mixed double with Lauren was special and she is destined for great things in our sport”, he said.
All good things must come to an end and for me that time is now.
Pondering what may be next, Whiteley said, “I have a new direction in life that excites me and I’m looking forward to the next exciting chapter.”
GBRT Paralympic Head Coach Nick Baker has paid tribute to Whiteley, saying, “I’ve been working with the team since 2013 and can safely say Laurence had a raw talent you don’t come across everyday. He is a natural racer and when he and Lauren were at the top of their game in the double it had something special, always stronger than the sum of its parts.”
Looking back on Whiteley’s achievements, Baker said, “For me the highlight of Laurence’s career will always be his Rio 2016 performance, the road to that particular startline and the significance of the result will only ever be understood by those closest to him. I’d like to wish Laurence the best of luck for his transition away from elite sport and look forward to following his future successes.”
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