Olympic and World Champion Azou retires
Jeremie Azou, the name that has become synonymous with the best of lightweight rowing and one of the most accomplished rowers in French history, is retiring from international rowing. Aged 28, Azou’s international career began as a junior in 2006 and spanned 11 years.
Originally from the city of Avignon, in Southern France, Azou chose to announce his retirement at a special event organised to uncover the new name of the Avignon Rowing Club: Base Nautique Jeremie Azou.
As related by the French National Rowing Federation, Azou stated: “Practicing rowing requires a big investment… At the elite level it is impossible to not devote yourself entirely to the sport and I cannot train only partially. Today, my sports ambitions have been fully reached. I also believe that I have finished accomplishing my role of mentor to Pierre Houin (Azou’s doubles partner). In the French team, the lightweight group is full of promising athletes. I also wish them the chance to experience the Olympic Games. I have the feeling that the time has come for me to stop. For me, it is the right time.”
Best known for his many successes in the lightweight men’s double sculls, Azou has remained unbeaten in this boat class since 2015, winning every round of racing at every international regatta that he entered.
Azou earned his first championship medal in the lightweight double at the 2009 World Rowing Championships, a silver, with then partner Frederic Dufour.
In 2012, Azou teamed up with Stany Delayre and together they finished an agonisingly close fourth at the London Olympics. Their partnership lasted four years, and together they won three European Championship titles, World Championship silver in 2014 and World Championship gold in 2015, as well as a plethora of World Cup medals. The Azou-Delayre duo still holds the European Championship Best Time in the lightweight double, set in 2015 at 06:11.38, as well as the World Cup Best Time, also set in 2015, at 06:09.26. They were attributed the World Rowing Male Crew of the Year Award in 2015.
When up-and-coming star Houin joined Azou in 2016, the gold-winning streak continued, culminating in Olympic gold at Rio 2016 and another World Championship gold this year in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA.
Also a specialist of the lightweight single, Azou became an under-23 World Champion in this boat class in 2011 and earned a World Championship silver medal in the single two years later at the senior level after partner, Delayre had to withdraw due to a boating accident.
Very strong on the indoor rowing machine, he impressed the world of rowing by going under six minutes and clocking 5:57.5 over 2000m in December 2014.
As a child, Azou was a competitive swimmer before he picked up rowing at the age of 12. He is a trained physiotherapist with a specialisation in osteophathy. He is also an accomplished musician, and enjoys playing the drums and the guitar. He now lives and works in the city of Valenciennes in northern France.