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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Three time Olympic Champion & five time World Champion, Pete Reed, joins the BRIT Ambassador family

We are delighted that Pete Reed OBE has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.

Pete is a three-times Olympic gold medallist. He won gold in the Men’s coxless four at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and then won gold in the Men’s eight at the 2016 Olympic Games. He also won five gold medals and three silver medals at the World Championships. Pete, known in the rowing world as “Commander”, is the third most decorated rower in Great Britain rowing history, behind Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. He continues to serve in the Royal Navy.

Pete Reed OBE - Three time Olympic Champion and five time World Champion

“As a former student at the University of the West of England (UWE) and Oriel College, University of Oxford, and having trained and competed with young athletes for the whole of my professional rowing career, I know that many young adults, sailors and students suffer with mental health challenges. COVID-19 is impacting on all our lives. I know first-hand, how tough it can be to come to terms loss. COVID-19 is compounding existing mental health difficulties faced by many young people, especially those who are vulnerable or are living with a disability.

One in four young people were unable to access the mental health support they needed during the 2020 lockdown and their wellbeing needs to be looked after in order to avoid long-term effects on their mental health. Support from charities is vital to help improve young adult mental health and it is great to see The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) partnering with PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and The Charlie Waller Trust so that all donations raised through the BRIT 2021 Challenge will be shared equally between the five charities.

The BRIT 2021 Challenge is inspiring UK-wide opportunity for students and young adults to unite wherever they are (at home or on campus) and take part in a fun and feel-good challenge to raise vital funds for charities who support young adult mental health; it’s a great way for students of all abilities to take part in an inclusive activity to improve mental health and fitness.

Every UK university, college and students’ union have been invited to embrace the BRIT 2021 Challenge, enter teams and encourage their students and staff to participate. This is also a great opportunity for University Royal Navy Units and Sea Cadet units to enter teams and it would be fantastic if every Royal Navy Ship, Naval base and Station takes on the challenge as a way of maintaining good mental health and fitness. Teams have until 1st July 2021 to complete their BRIT 2021 Challenge.

I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and urge former and current Olympians and Paralympians to join me so that together, we can invite our former universities and colleges throughout the UK to embrace the BRIT 2021 Challenge and enter teams. I look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at the University of the West of England, University of Oxford and the Royal Navy’s Sailors and Marines, as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge. It would be great if every college at Oxford enters teams and I hope that rowers will help add miles to their team targets."

Pete Reed OBE - BRIT Ambassador

Pete was educated at Cirencester Deer Park School and Cirencester College.

In September 2001, Pete took up rowing during his second year at the University of the West of England, Bristol whilst studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. The following year, coached by Fred Smallbone, he became the Boat Club President.

Pete won a place at Oriel College, University of Oxford, in 2004, to attend a two year Master of Science degree in Engineering. Whilst at Oxford, he trained at the Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC) under coach Sean Bowden. Pete was selected for the Blue Boat to race against Cambridge in 2004 and 2005. The 2005 victory saw the Blue Boat win by two lengths.

In 2005, Pete and his Oxford strokeman, Andrew Triggs Hodge, won the Great Britain pairs trials and following the retirement of Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell, were selected to row alongside Alex Partridge and Steve Williams in the new Great Britain Coxless Four. That same year, Pete won gold in the Coxless four at the World Championships in Gifu and a year later, won gold at the World Championships in Eton Dorney.

The British Four won gold at all three World Cups in 2005 and 2006, and finished both seasons by becoming World Champions. They remained unbeaten for 27 consecutive races until Lucerne in 2007.

In 2006, Pete’s teammates, Tom James and Andrew Triggs-Hodge, picked up injuries and the first-choice Great Britain Four raced together for the first time in the final World Cup event of the season, winning silver. They then dominated their heats and semi-final at the Olympic Games in Beijing, going on to win gold in a dramatic final when they came back to beat Australia at the line by 1.28 seconds.

In 2009, Pete was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honours for services to rowing.

Pete won silver in the Coxless pair at the World Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Pete, Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory won gold in the Men’s Coxless four.

In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Pete won gold as part of the Men’s Eight at World Rowing Championships. Pete also won bronze in the Men’s Eight at the 2014 European Championships and silver at the 2015 European Championships.

Pete won his third Olympic gold in the Men’s Eight at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2017, Peter was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours for services to rowing.

Pete announced his retirement from professional rowing in 2018 and returned to a full-time naval career.

Since 2012, Pete has been an Ambassador for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

In 2019, Pete suffered a spinal stroke which has left him paralysed from the chest down. After months at both an NHS Hospital and the Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, he has been undergoing intense rehabilitation during 2020 and 2021, at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC).

Pete will soon be moving to an adaptive home with his “incredible” partner Jeannie and a new appointment in the Royal Navy.


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