(Reuters) – New Zealand’s double Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday after the 42-year-old missed out on selection for the Tokyo Games.
Drysdale won a bronze at Beijing in single sculls before claiming back-to-back golds at London and Rio de Janeiro and is a five-times world champion in the event.
He had been bidding to compete at a fifth Games but lost out in the single sculls to Jordan Parry and withdrew from the elite eight squad.
“The fairy tale of finishing my career with a fourth medal at my fifth Olympics is not meant to be!” Drysdale said in a statement http://www.mahe.kiwi/newsarticle/104457?newsfeedId=649361.
“I didn’t make it to Tokyo, where I planned to finish, but I did make it a lot further than I thought I might at times over the past 10 months.
“There is certainly disappointment not to get to Tokyo but in sport there are no guarantees and there are no handouts — you have to earn everything you achieve.”
Drysdale and Simon Dickie, who died in 2017, are the only New Zealand rowers to win three Olympic medals.
New Zealand Olympic Committee Chief Executive Kereyn Smith said Drysdale, who was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009, was a “leader” in rowing.
“Mahe has created New Zealand history and inspired a generation with his standout Olympic performances,” Smith added. “He will be missed and we thank him for his amazing legacy.”
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)