Olympic Gold medallist and motivational speaker Ed Coode discovered his talent for rowing at school having never been particularly talented at any other sport. After winning silver at the Junior World Championships age 17, he went on to university to study Marine Biology and continued his rowing career at Newcastle and Oxford.
After competing in the 1998 Boat Race, he joined Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell in the Coxless Four at the 1999 World Championships. They won, with what Steve Redgrave has called his ‘best race ever’.
Shortly after leaving the four, Ed competed in the Pair with Greg Searle at the Sydney Olympics. With only three months preparation they were still disappointed with their fourth place. After this Ed decided he had ‘unfinished business’ in the rowing world and formed a new Four which went on to dominate and win the World Championships in 2001. But more disappointment was to follow, after a training accident in Norway left him agonisingly unable to train for eight months.
In 2003 Ed Coode rejoined the national squad and worked his way back up through the ranks, leading the British Eight to a bronze medal at the World Championships.
2004 was typical of Ed’s tumultuous career. In April it looked as though underperformance issues meant he would only be going to the Athens Olympics as a reserve. But just before the first regatta, Ed was given a chance to prove himself when James Cracknell was temporarily injured. The Four with Ed in it won resoundingly at the World Cup in Poznan and when James returned to fitness, Ed was given a place in the Olympic Eight.
The rollercoaster hadn’t stopped however. Just before Henley in July, Chief Coach Jurgen Grobler took Ed aside to tell him that Alex Partridge had a punctured lung and he was going to Athens in the top boat of the Coxless Four, alongside Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell and Steve Williams.
With just six weeks to bring the crew together, they had to put all other issues behind them and create a winning unit. As history shows, they succeeded, beating the World Champions from Canada by 0.08 of a second in one of the most exciting Olympic races ever in Athens 2004.
Recently, Ed Coode MBE has returned to his roots by taking up a position at Coodes, his family’s law firm.
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