“We have about six really good chances of gold”: Sir Steve Redgrave forecasts Team GB rowing medal rush at Paris 2024

Sir Steve Redgrave has backed Britain’s rowers to top the medal table at Paris 2024 just three years after their worst Olympic showing in nearly 50 years.

In Tokyo, Team GB won just two medals in rowing, a silver, and a bronze, leaving them down in 14th position in the sport, failing to win a gold medal for the first time since 1980.

It was the following Games, in Los Angeles in 1984, where Redgrave won the first of his five consecutive gold medals, as Great Britain established themselves as one of the dominant forces in rowing.

Now, as the clock ticks towards the start of Paris, Redgrave believes that recent World Championships success gives Team GB a very strong chance of coming away from Paris as the leading rowing nation.

“It’s all getting very close. The men and women’s teams were announced last week. They got their kit this week,” said Redgrave, who has teamed up with GSK to support their Get Shingles Ready campaign to promote healthy ageing and illness prevention.
“There has been a big turnaround in the last three years. We didn’t win a gold medal in Tokyo, and that was the first time we hadn’t won a gold medal since 1980, so that was a bit of a shock to our sport.

“We had athletes out there who were capable of being able to turn that around in the last three years. In the World Championships a few months ago, we won four gold medals in Olympic events, the Netherlands had five.

“But so far, through this season, the two countries are pushing neck and neck to see who is going to be the strongest nation. We have got about six really good chances of gold medals. I think we will head the rowing Olympic table, so I’m expecting big things from our athletes this year.”

As for what has changed in the three years since Tokyo, according to Redgrave, Britain’s rowers have rediscovered their belief.

The departures of Jurgen Grobler, the legendary German coach who was behind Redgrave’s five Olympic golds, and Paul Thompson, the spearhead of the success on the women’s side, came during the last Olympic cycle. And Redgrave believes their absence was a large factor in GB’s struggles.

He added: “I think they got themselves in a bit of a muddle three years ago. We had two outstanding coaches, in Jurgen Grobler, who coached me, and Paul Thompson, who coached out in Australia and came to the UK. Jurgen is probably the best coach of any Olympic sport, and Paul was the best women’s coach within rowing.

“They started when the delay came to look not at what they could do in Tokyo but almost what they could do in Paris. They almost forgot about Tokyo.

“We won two medals, a silver, and a bronze, which back when we were competing would have been looked upon as being a highlight, but now with the rowing team, that was quite a disappointment.

“I think they lost a bit of belief around that sort of time. They seem to have it back in abundance at the moment.”

Redgrave was speaking as part of Get Shingles Ready, a campaign by GSK alongside fellow Olympic champion Daley Thompson.

And despite his five Olympic gold medals, Redgrave admits that he found it difficult to come to terms with getting older, particularly after London 2012.

Alongside Thompson, Redgrave wanted to focus on the importance of healthy ageing and proactive approaches to help prevent illness as we get older – including regular exercise, eating healthily, and taking up adult vaccinations when individuals become eligible for them via NHS vaccination programmes.

The 62-year-old said: “I found it very hard. I had the advantage of when I stopped rowing, within weeks I got involved in London 2012 and the bid process. That took over my life.

“Stepping out of regular exercise but still being around the Olympics, that went on for 12 years building up to the London Olympics.

“When the cauldron went out in the Paralympics, I was at home watching the closing ceremony, it had quite a big impact on me. I thought ‘what am I going to do now?’. The Olympic focus had been there since I was a 14-year-old and now it had gone as a 50-year-old. It was a bit scary and mentally it took me quite a while to come to terms with what I was going to do next.

“I was still working around the sport and going to summer and winter Games, it was nice to be part of that but mentally that was a big change for me. Hitting the 50th barrier just before 2012. Those Games were amazing and how that motivated so many people to get active.”

Get Shingles Ready is a campaign by GSK supported by Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson. For more information visit

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