11 September 2020

Paralympic champion Grace Clough retires from rowing

Paralympic gold medallist Grace Clough has announced her retirement from international rowing, four years to the day since her memorable win at Rio 2016.

The 29-year-old won gold at the Rio Paralympic Games as an integral member of the PR3 mixed coxed four alongside Pamela Relph, Daniel Brown and James Fox – a moment that she cherishes.

Rio gold: Grace celebrates with the team in 2016

“The highlight of my rowing career has to be that golden day in Rio where GB won a medal in every boat class,” said Grace.

“It was an incredible feeling to be part of such a dominant team of athletes and support staff, with everyone working towards one goal and it all coming together on the day. We had so many friends and family there and just seeing everyone so happy and celebrating the achievement felt amazing.”

The mixed coxed four on the podium in Rio

First spotted at a ParalympicsGB Talent ID event, Grace then joined the GB Para squad in 2013. The following year she celebrated the first of a whole host of world titles. Grace remained unbeaten throughout her international rowing career - and she credits Paralympic coach Tom Dyson for helping her to achieve such outstanding success.

“I’ve had an incredible journey - from coming into rowing as someone who had no idea which way to sit in a boat, to becoming Paralympic champion in two and a half years.

“I have to give special thanks to Tom Dyson for his patience in teaching me how to row. If it wasn’t for the support team around me, especially Tom, I would never have won anything - let alone become Paralympic champion.

“I step away from the sport having achieved more than I ever thought possible, thanks to the funding, support staff and GB set-up which enables people to achieve incredible things,” added Grace, who now plans to embark on a career as a secondary school PE teacher.

Heroes return: Grace and Pamela Relph (left) in 2016

“I’m hoping I can use my experiences to show the importance of staying involved in sport and staying active after leaving school. Physical activity has huge mental and physical benefits and allows you to challenge yourself personally every day.”

ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said: “I’m so proud of everything Grace has achieved in the sport – and also her passion for the team around her, which she continues to demonstrate with her valuable work as a member of the BPA Athletes’ Commission.

“Grace reaped the rewards of her hard work and dedication throughout her rowing career and I have no doubt she will go on to achieve great success as a teacher too.”

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