Double Olympic champion Heather Stanning has announced her retirement from rowing.
The 31-year-old won gold in the women’s pair with Helen Glover at London 2012 and Rio 2016 as part of an unbeaten record going back to 2011.
Lossiemouth’s Stanning, who will continue serving in the British Army, said: “It’s hard to identify a key highlight. Obviously winning back-to-back Olympic golds is up there, but also our first World Championship gold was a big highlight.”
Stanning is currently serving as a major in the army and is left to reflect on a “dream career”, which ended in glory with her great friend Glover in Rio in the summer.
“I started rowing for the social and fun side of the sport at university, but (coach) Paul Stannard showed me I had potential in the sport and guided me through my early years, at Under-23s and then onto the senior team,” Stanning said.
“Winning with Olivia (Whitlam) at Under-23s sparked a desire within me to aspire for bigger things.
“I must also thank Eira (Parry) and Miles (Forbes-Thomas) for their help and coaching as Helen and I started out with the team, but partnering with Helen and Robin (Williams) has been the dream career.
“I could not have wished for anyone else to share the Olympic journey with.”
Glover, who looks set to continue her career, paid tribute to Stanning’s achievements alongside her in the boat.
“Heather has been my team-mate for six years and in that time has been my voice of logic, a driving force, my friend, and my maid of honour,” she said.
“I’m fortunate enough to have sat at the start line of two Olympic Games with Heather. There is nobody else I would have wanted in the boat with me in those moments.
“She is dependable, determined, and a formidable athlete. The army has given us both incredible support and I am sure she will continue to flourish in her career.
“Thank you, Heather, not just for the success we shared, but for making it the most fun journey possible.”
British Rowing performance director Sir David Tanner added: “It has been a privilege to work with Heather over the past decade from her induction into rowing through coach Paul Stannard.
“In the pair with Helen Glover she raced in one of the most exceptional crews that world rowing has ever seen. She has balanced this impressively with a successful career in the British Army, which is testament to Heather’s determination and dedication to rowing, combined with a strong relationship with Helen both on and off the water.”