Gröbler Joins Team France

The most successful Olympic coach of all-time, who British Rowing carelessly lost just one year short of Tokyo 2020, is signed by the French Rowing Federation.

2 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Naomi Baker
Published 29.09.21

Jürgen Gröbler OBE has signed a contract with the French Rowing Federation (FFA) to be their Executive High-Performance Consultant. He will guide the French rowing teams to Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and embarks on his new role on October 4th, 2021.

Photo Jürgen Gröbler with Great Britain Rowing
Credit Naomi Baker

Having coached crews to Olympic medal success at every Olympics he attended* since 1972 Grobler will not just use his half-century of coaching experience to develop the French athletes but also their coaches. Jürgen was the Chief Coach of Great Britain for 30 years and led 20 British Olympic champions to 33 gold medals from eight crews and brings to the FFA a wealth of management skills.

The news follows the resignation of Andy Parkinson British Rowing’s Chief Executive. According to The Times, Parkinson was one of the “key figures” behind Gröbler’s controversial departure from the Great Britain Rowing Team. Speculation continues as to whether Brendan Purcell Great Britain’s Performance Director will also “explore new opportunities” in due course. Purcell has been on extended leave and since Tokyo 2020 has not been available for interview.

Parkinson’s resignation was announced ten days after the Board of British Rowing received the findings of a Tokyo 2020 review. The review was instigated by Mark Davies the Chair of British Rowing and sought to uncover the reasons behind the performance of the GB Rowing Team. Having topped the medal table for three consecutive Olympics the British rowing team slipped to fourteenth place at Tokyo 2020, their lowest rank since 1972.

The FFA are understood to be delighted at securing the world’s most successful Olympic rowing coach of all-time and described the signing as an “exceptional success” and a “real tour de force”. They believe the appointment shows the ambitions of the Federation and its National Technical Director “to make rowing an engine of French sport in the coming Olympiad”.

Photo Jürgen Gröbler
Credit Naomi Baker

*Jürgen did not attend the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics owing to the East German boycott.