Current Olympic Champion and double World Champion Tom Ransley MBE has announced his retirement from international rowing after more than 11 years representing Great Britain. Tom won Olympic gold in spectacular form at the Rio 2016 Olympics as part of the men’s eight.
“Rio was very special,” Ransley remembers. “I had a brutal time trying to get myself there, as did the rest of the crew. There were some really tough individual journeys along the way and I’m incredibly proud to be in the company of that eight. There’s so many legends in the boat – World and Olympic gold medallists – and working directly under Jürgen is always an honour. I have lots of special memories of that tight-knit team.
“The race itself felt like it was a decade in the making; it was what I’d been aiming for my whole career. To be able to win the big one in an awesome setting was amazing.”
Ransley was also part of the men’s eight who won a superb Olympic bronze medal on home water at the London 2012 Olympic Games. He describes the bronze medal as “bittersweet”, saying: “It was a tough one to take at the time; I don’t think we did anything wrong, the Germans were just a really slick crew so hats off to them. I’m so proud of the guys’ effort – we obviously went out to win it and left nothing on the water.
“It was an absolute privilege to be able to race at a home Games in front of an awesome Dorney crowd and, over time, the bronze has meant a huge amount to me. When I take the medal out on school visits and see kids’ faces light up, I’m really glad in hindsight to have that medal.”
A two-time World Champion, Ransley boasts an incredible 23 international medals to his name. He was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List in 2016.
As well as his Olympic experiences, he counts another career highlight as the 2013 season: “We became World Champions, set a course record on the Sydney Olympic course and won two World Cups; the first time ever that a GB eight had won a World Championships. It was great to come off the back of the bittersweet London Olympics and find some world-class form. We then managed to defend that World title in 2014. For a crew who had always been near the top but not quite there, it felt amazing to finish on top of the world and then defend it.”
A current member of Leander Club, Ransley first started rowing at York City Rowing Club aged 15. He then moved to the University of York and Cambridge University, where he twice donned the light blues in the Boat Race. He made his debut for Great Britain in 2007 at the World U23 Rowing Championships in Glasgow.
Following his retirement Ransley will be looking to stay in sport, possibly in a journalism and media capacity, and says he plans to continue to support British Rowing from the banks of the river. Ransley continues to be a valued contributor to Row360.