The three-time Olympic Champion, Reed last raced on the international stage at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s eight where he secured gold with the team. Reed took a post-Olympic break and returned to training with the British national team last December. But an ongoing injury helped Reed, 36, to decide that this was the right time for retirement.

Reed stated in a British Rowing media release: “I wish I could carry on in our wonderful sport forever but, looking back, I have absolutely no regrets. I am disappointed that I will not be able to go for a fourth consecutive gold medal at Tokyo 2020, but I have to be realistic; training and performance isn’t improving fast enough.”

Reed made the British national team for the first time in 2004 at the age of 22. He had been rowing for less than three years and made it directly into the men’s pair. A year later he was rowing in Great Britain’s flagship boat, the men’s four, and his first race in this boat internationally earned him gold. This was the beginning of a winning streak that lasted through to 2007.

After a fourth-place finish at the 2007 World Rowing Championships, the crew came through to take gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in a hotly contested final against Australia. Reed had raced at his first Olympic Games and come away an Olympic Champion.

Reed then switched to the men’s pair and with Andrew Triggs Hodge they were the two fastest British men’s sweep rowers. But the duo had come into the pair at the same time as the famed ‘Kiwi Pair’ of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. No matter what Reed and Triggs Hodge did, they found themselves in the silver medal spot too many times. In the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, coach Juergen Grobler moved Reed back into the four. The four went on to take gold in front of a home crowd in London 2012. Reed had won his second Olympic Champion title.

The following year Reed was switched into his country’s men’s eight. Medals continued, although they were not always gold as the British crew had the challenge of the very powerful German men’s eight. But in 2014 and 2015 Reed’s eight won World Championship gold, adding to his World Championship medal collection.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games would be Reed’s last Olympics and in an epic battle against Germany, the British men’s eight finished first by just 0.33 of a second. Reed had become a three-time Olympic Champions.

Apart from winning medals, Reed was known for his tremendous lung capacity. He holds the record for the largest ever recorded lung capacity of a rower (11.68 litres). This is far above the average for males (about 6 litres) and just short of the American swimmer, Michael Phelps with 12 litres.