Pete Reed
Personal information
Full namePeter K. Reed
Born (1981-07-27) 27 July 1981 (age 42)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Height6 ft 6 in (198 cm)
College teamOxford University Boat Club
ClubLeander Club
Coached byJürgen Gröbler
Medal record
Men's rowing
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing Coxless four
Gold medal – first place 2012 London Coxless four
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Eight
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2005 Gifu Coxless four
Gold medal – first place 2006 Eton Dorney Coxless four
Gold medal – first place 2013 Chungju Eight
Gold medal – first place 2014 Amsterdam Eight
Gold medal – first place 2015 Aiguebelette Eight
Silver medal – second place 2009 Poznań Coxless pair
Silver medal – second place 2010 Karapiro Coxless pair
Silver medal – second place 2011 Bled Coxless pair
European Championships
Silver medal – second place 2015 Poznan Eight
Bronze medal – third place 2014 Belgrade Eight

Peter K. Reed[1] OBE (born 27 July 1981) is a retired [2] British Olympic rower. Reed is a three-times Olympic gold medallist – earning gold in the Men's coxless four at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and then a gold medal in the Men's eight at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He has also won five gold medals and three silver medals at the World Championships.

Background and military career

Reed was born in Seattle, Washington, US but his family moved to England several months later. He was brought up in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire and attended Cirencester Deer Park School, and later Cirencester College for his A-levels.

Reed is a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy[1] and began rowing relatively late. In 2001, whilst training as an officer on board HMS Exeter, he used an ergometer for the first time — and promptly posted the fastest time in the Royal Navy's annual fleet-wide fitness competition.[3]

Rowing career

Reed took up rowing in his second year of university in 2002, whilst studying mechanical engineering at the University of the West of England, to become a naval engineer.[4] The following year, in 2003, coached by Fred Smallbone, he became a successful Boat Club President.

In 2004, Reed won a place at the University of Oxford to attend a two-year MSc course in engineering, based at Oriel College.[5] During this time, he trained at the Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC) under coach Sean Bowden, where he earned the nickname "The Commander". He was selected in both years for the Blue Boat to race against Cambridge in the annual Boat Race. Defeat in 2004 was followed by victory in 2005. The race gained much publicity as Oxford narrowly won by 2 lengths in a time of 16 minutes 42 seconds with its "heaviest-ever Boat Race crew", a record which was later broken in 2009.[6][7]

In 2005, Reed and his Oxford strokeman, Andrew Triggs Hodge, won GB senior pairs trials (together they won every year from 2005 to 2012), and following the retirement of Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell were selected by coach Jürgen Gröbler to row alongside Alex Partridge and Steve Williams MBE, in the new Great Britain Coxless Four.[8]

Unbeaten for 27 consecutive races until Lucerne 2007, the British Four won gold at all three World Cups in 2005 and 2006, and finished both seasons by becoming World Champions.

Reed continued his training to represent Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. After a difficult early season, in which his teammates Tom James, whom he had rowed against in the 2005 Boat Race, and Andrew Triggs Hodge picked up injuries, the first-choice four raced together for the first time in Poznań in the final World Cup event of the season, finishing second. The GB four then dominated their heats and semi finals at the Beijing Olympics. In the final, however, the Australian four lead for most of the way. Only a dramatic push by the British boat in the closing stages made the difference; they won the nail biting final to become gold medallists in a time of 6 minutes 6.57 seconds, beating the Australian four by 1.28 seconds.

He stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and was reported in 2006 as having the largest recorded lung capacity (11.68 litres).[9] Originally due to return to full-time naval duties after returning from Beijing he confirmed on 6 November 2008 that he had been given permission to continue training for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[10] At the 2012 Summer Games, Reed, along with Triggs-Hodge, James and Alex Gregory, helped Great Britain retain the gold medal in the men's coxless four.[11]

He competed at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, where he won a gold medal as part of the eight.[12] He then competed at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Bosbaan, Amsterdam, where he won a gold medal as part of the eight[13] and the following year he was part of the British team that topped the medal table at the 2015 World Rowing Championships at Lac d'Aiguebelette in France, where he won a gold medal as part of the eight with Matt Gotrel, Constantine Louloudis, Paul Bennett, Moe Sbihi, Alex Gregory, George Nash, Will Satch and Phelan Hill.[14]

In April 2018, Reed announced his retirement from professional rowing.[2]

Personal life

In August 2014, Reed was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[15]

In October 2019, Reed announced via Instagram that he had suffered a spinal stroke, which has left him paralysed from the chest down.[16]


Reed was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours[17] and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to rowing.[18][19]

Rowing palmares


World Championships

World Cups

World Rowing Under 23 Championships


See also


  1. ^ a b "No. 62545". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 January 2019. p. 1406.
  2. ^ a b Quarrell, Rachel (10 April 2018). "Triple Olympic champ Pete Reed announces retirement from rowing". The Telegraph.
  3. ^ "Navy Olympic Rower Selected for Rowing World Cup". Royal Navy. 28 February 2013.
  4. ^ "UWE graduates represent Great Britain in Olympic Games" (PDF). The Bulletin July 2008. University of the West of England. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Pete Reed Profile". London Olympics 2012 Competitors' Profiles. Oxford University. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Oxford University crew weigh-in as the heaviest ever ahead of the Boat Race". The Daily Telegraph. 19 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Dark Blue crew are heaviest on record". The Guardian. 23 March 2005.
  8. ^ "Pete Reed OBE".
  9. ^ English Institute of Sport, 17 November 2006, test ID 27781
  10. ^ "Reed has admirals on board for Olympic title defence". The Guardian. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  11. ^ "London 2012 – Rowing – Men's Coxless Four". IOC. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  12. ^ "2013 World Rowing Championships: Event Information". International Rowing Federation. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  13. ^ "2014 World Rowing Championships: Event Information". International Rowing Federation. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  14. ^ "2015 World Rowing Championships results". World Rowing.
  15. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Pete Reed: Triple Olympic rowing gold medallist paralysed after spinal stroke". BBC Sport. 30 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  17. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 21.
  18. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N14.
  19. ^ "New Year's Honours list 2017 – Publications – GOV.UK". Retrieved 31 December 2016.