Tom James: Double Olympic rowing champion retires

Tom James

Double Olympic champion Tom James has retired from professional rowing.

The 29-year-old Briton, who won gold in Beijing and London in the coxless fours, will focus on a career in business consultancy.

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Great Britain men's coxless four lead from start to finish to win Olympic gold at Eton Dorney.

"I've had a fantastic time during my 10 years with the senior squad - and it has been an incredible success," said Welshman James.

"I feel very, very lucky. London 2012 was an experience which will never be bettered."

Great Britain won the Olympic title in the men's coxless four for the fourth successive Games when they edged out Australia in a thrilling race at Eton Dorney last summer.

Wrexham rower James teamed up with Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge and Alex Gregory to win gold, four years after triumphing in Beijing in the same boat with Reed, Triggs Hodge and Steve Williams.

It was a remarkable comeback for the Welshman who doubted whether he would compete at the top level again after a back injury kept him out for most of 2010.

Then, in January 2012, he was diagnosed with a heart condition which causes an abnormal heart rhythm - and even missed a training session with a raised heart rate just weeks before the London Olympic regatta.

But he bounced back to full fitness and became the first Welsh athlete to win gold medals in back-to-back Olympics since three-day eventer Richard Meade in 1968 and 1972.

Cardiff-born James added: "Thank you to the sport of rowing and to the GB Rowing Team.

"I'm not planning to distance myself from the sport and will still be doing a lot of work with both Cambridge University and Molesey Boat Club."

James raced four times for Cambridge in the Boat Race, winning at his final attempt in 2007. He also won one gold and two bronze medals at World Championships.

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