World Champion Watson announces retirement

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Back-to-back World Champion rower Bronwen Watson announced her retirement from competitive rowing as of today, with the 2007 and 2008 gold medallist hoping to step away from the sport in sight of a life less constricted.

“Rowing at an elite level has been a rewarding experience and winning World Championship medals as an Australian representative has been, and will continue to be something I am very proud of,” Watson said.

“I have been fortunate to meet many outstanding athletes and coaches whose commitment and knowledge have helped and motivated me to achieve my goals in sport.  Rowing has also taken me to some of the most inspiring and beautiful water courses in the world, and although I will be enjoying a post 5am alarm call for a while, I will get up for the occasional sunrise as it really is the best part of the day!”

Watson had previously “retired” from rowing after 2003 World Championships, then took it up again socially in England in 2005. By 2006, she was back on the water – training six days a week.

Now aged 33 and newly engaged to Miles Downey (an Australian international Futsal player) – Watson plans to settle down and spend a little more time in Sydney.

“After 18 years of 4.30am starts, eating salad and early nights, I am looking forward to sleeping in, eating without worrying about the calorie content and having a few more late nights – possibly with a glass of good red wine,” she said.

“I recently raced my last 2km race at the 2010 Australian Rowing Championships and now I will be hanging up my oars in favour of possibly not a more sedentary life, but at least a slightly less competitive one.”

Watson will maintain her contribution to the success of sport at Sydney University, continuing her role  as executive assistant at Sydney University Sport and Fitness Centre.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sydney University Sport and Fitness for their support while I have been rowing,” she said. “Rowing is certainly not showered with lucrative sponsorship deals so having an income is something that needs to be balanced around training.

“As the demands of training and competing mean frequent requests for periods of leave, many rowing athletes find it hard to find supportive employers. SUSF has been extremely flexible and understanding and greatly assisted in balancing my continued career development with elite sport.”

We wish her all the best.