Olympian and current World Best Time holder Robbie Manson has announced his intent to take an indefinite break from professional rowing.
Robbie has competed at two Olympic Games, won multiple World Cup medals and placed third alongside Chris Harris at the 2015 Rowing World Champs.
“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.''
Above: Joe Sullivan & Robbie Manson
2009 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 Olympic 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 Rowing World 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 went on to win 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 season saw Robbie dominate at the World Rowing Cups, but he was again held to 5th place at the Rowing World Championships.
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.
Robbie has since made the decision to depart professional sport to pursue other passions.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee and Rowing New Zealand would like to thanks Robbie for his contribution to both rowing and the Olympic movement.
Above: Robbie Manson talks about his struggles growing up and his journey of self acceptance