By George Simms
Former Durham student Angus Groom, 29, helped Team GB to their first-ever medal in the Olympic men’s quadruple sculls early this morning. Comprised of Harry Leask, Tom Barras, Jack Beaumont and Groom, the GB crew came second only to the World Championship-winning Dutch boat. The Netherlands won gold in a World Record time of five minutes and 32.03 seconds.
Groom studied a BSc in Natural Sciences at Hatfield College from 2010-13, before heading to Bristol to complete an MSc in Stem Cells and Regeneration. He started rowing at 14 and was named Team Durham’s Sportsman of the Year in his final year. He then became part of the crew that came fifth in the same event in Rio 2016. The team attacked the race from the start, leading over the first kilometre from their position in Lane One. Although the Dutch crew eventually proved too strong, the British team fought off late challenges from the Polish and Australian boats to secure silver.
Groom told the BBC after the race: “We said when we pushed off, we’re just gonna trust each other, trust everyone to do their jobs and we just said throw everything at it”. He then went on to add that, “that was the perfect race for me”.
However, it was a slightly less successful morning in Tokyo for another Durham alumnus. Matt Rossiter, 31, competed for Team GB in the men’s coxless four. Alongside Sholto Carnegie, Oliver Cook and Rory Gibbs, Rossiter’s boat ended up fourth, behind Australia, Romania and Italy, despite going into the race as favourites. Britain had won every Olympic iteration of this race since Athens 2004, but this was their first in recent memory without iconic coach Jürgen Gröbler, after his retirement in August 2020.
Looking set for silver coming into the last few hundred metres, the British boat sharply veered off course, nearly colliding with eventual Bronze medalists Italy. Former Olympic medallists James Cracknell and Dame Katherine Grainger both commented on how rare it is to see something like that happen in a race of this level. A desolate Rossiter said: “If I’m honest, I don’t know entirely what happened…It’s pretty heartbreaking to stuff it in the race that actually matters”.
Congratulations to both Angus and Matt for their incredible individual and team efforts at sport’s highest level.
Image: Team GB