Double Olympic rowing champions bow out
Double Olympic rowing champions bow out of the sport
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Double Olympic gold medallists and three time world rowing champions Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell have announced their retirement from the sport.
The Hawkes Bay twins have been international rowers for almost a decade and since they took their first stroke in the double scull have continually redefined the standard required to win in the event.
Their victory in Beijing was one of the closest in the history of the Olympic Games and their second Olympic gold medal put them into an exclusive club of New Zealand Olympians who have successfully defended their titles. Caroline and Georgina were world champions in the double scull for the first time in Seville in 2002, winning again in 2003 in Milan before capturing their first Olympic title at Athens in 2004. They were world champions again in 2005 in Gifu during the Magic 45 Minutes.
After difficult seasons in 2006 and 2007 – when they still won a world bronze and a world silver medal – they entered 2008 as outsiders to retain their Olympic title in Beijing but completed the Olympic defence with a final that had the nation on the edge of its seat. This was the first time in history that the women's double scull title had successfully been defended.
“The twins are an example of guts and determination that every young athlete can look up to,” said their coach of eight years, Richard Tonks. “They have delivered when it has mattered most and no coach could ever ask for more. It’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
Caroline and Georgina now plan to take some time out while they decide their futures off the water. "Retiring now just feels right," said Caroline. "It's been a great time in our lives and we couldn't have done it without Richard. We have always said they should give out three medals not two! Our sponsors have been amazing over the years too.”
“There are many young athletes coming up through the ranks and some are already Junior and Under-23 world champions," added Georgina. "Rowing has a wealth of talent and the sport is very healthy. It's a great time to bring on the young talent and for us to say Goodbye.”
“The sport will forever be indebted to them,” added Rowing New Zealand Chairman Bill Falconer. “They are icons not only in New Zealand but in world rowing and world sport. It’s always a tough decision to retire but these girls have given a decade of their lives to winning and they are leaving the sport as Olympic champions. They have been, and will remain, inspirational.”