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Robbie Manson announces indefinite break from rowing

  • 21 Oct 20

After an impressive career across 15 years, Olympian and current World Best Time holder Robbie Manson has announced his intent to take an indefinite break from professional rowing.

Domestically, Robbie has achieved 20 national titles (17 premier) and remains national champion in the single scull, a position he has held for the last four years.

“I am very proud of what I have achieved with the sport that I love, it was far more than I ever dreamt possible. The friends I’ve made, the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had are what has made this journey so special and worthwhile.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me along the way - coaches, support staff, teammates, friends and family.''

Robbie first represented New Zealand in 2008 with the U21 Youth Cup team. The following year was Robbie’s breakthrough season in which he was selected in the U23 men’s double sculls alongside Joe Sullivan. The duo blew their competition out of the water, winning by an impressive four seconds at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Racice, Czech Republic. Robbie then joined the men’s elite quad for 2010 and stroked the boat at the Olympic Games in London 2012, where they placed 7th.

Following the Olympics Games Robbie made the switch to the elite men’s double sculls where he stayed through the next entire Olympic cycle. His highlights during that time include winning multiple World Rowing Cups and an impressive bronze medal with Chris Harris at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France. The duo placed 11th in Rio.

After returning from Rio, Robbie had his sights firmly set on the men’s single sculls, and achieved selection for this class in 2017. He set the world alight when he won gold at the 2017 World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland, in a new world-best time of 6:30.74. After remaining undefeated in the World Rowing Cup campaign, he finished in 5th place in Sarasota, Florida, at the World Rowing Championships. The following domestic summer saw Robbie fighting for his spot at home and at the World Rowing Cups in 2018. Robbie dominated at the World Rowing Cups, but again this impressive field kept him in 5th place at the World Rowing Championships. In both 2017 and 2018, he was awarded Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year.

In 2019 Robbie returned to the single and was able to qualify the boat for the Olympics, coming in at 7th at the World Rowing Championships. Robbie indicated to selectors his desire to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the men’s double, and was later selected alongside Chris Harris.

After the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics earlier this year, Robbie departs professional sport to pursue other passions, with Rowing NZ’s full support.