London Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Rob Williams has announced his retirement from rowing in order to concentrate on a career in the City, while double Olympian Sam Weale has announced his retirement from modern pentathlon with immediate effect.
Williams, who came second in the lightweight fours with Northern Irish brothers Richard and Peter Chambers and Chris Bartley, had taken time out from the sport after the Games in order to work as a trader with Goldman Sachs.
Williams said: “Ultimately, I feel very fortunate to have had such an enjoyable career, making some good mates and winning a solid handful of medals, all of which culminating in a fantastic summer in 2012.”
The 28-year-old won the world title in New Zealand in 2010 along with Richard Chambers, Bartley and Paul Mattick. In 2012 he combined his Olympic training with a PhD in X-ray crystallography.
GB Rowing Team Performance Director Sir David Tanner said: “Rob converted his significant talent in our sport to great effect and was exceptional in combining his PhD with his rowing, demonstrating that he always remained conscious of the world around him. He will be a great asset to his employers and we wish him well with the future.”
Weale finished 10th on his Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008 and followed it up with a 13th place in London in 2012.
In 2010, Weale, 31, became the first British man to win an individual European Championships medal when he took silver in Hungary. Weale said: “I’ve had a fantastic career. The men’s team is looking absolutely fantastic at the moment and it’s nice to see the achievements of the men equalling those of the women. One of my biggest regrets is not winning a team medal, but hopefully there are a lot of team medals in the men’s team now.”
Meanwhile, with the Winter Olympics only a month away, Procter & Gamble – one of the event’s leading sponsors – launched its main advertising campaign yesterday seeking a more modest return than from the summer games in London 18 months ago.
The household goods company, best known for brands such as Duracell batteries and Gillette razors, estimated London 2012 gave it a $500 million sales boost, but is targeting around a third of that figure from the Games in the Russian city of Sochi, as fewer nations take part in the Winter Olympics. “The Winter Games aren’t typically as big as the summer Games,” said Marc Pritchard, global brand-building officer for US-based P&G, which joined the group of ten leading Olympic sponsors in 2010. The focus of the P&G campaign, featuring clips of sports such as skating and skiing to be shown in TV commercials and online, will be on countries where winter sports have large followings, including Russia itself, China, the United States, Canada, Germany and Poland. P&G waited until after the Christmas period before stepping up its Olympic marketing ahead of the 7-23 February Games. The top sponsors, who also include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa, pay around $100 million each over a four-year period covering a summer and winter Games for the right to use the five-rings Olympic logo and brand in their global marketing.